Labor would rather service misery than solve it

Labor would rather service misery than solve it, by Nick Cater.

Labor, blinded by sentimentality, reckons it is unreasonable to make junkies accountable for the illegal substances they consume, inhale or inject. We must listen to the experts, they tell us; drugs are not something one chooses to take or from which one can choose to abstain. They are, says Labor’s Sharon Claydon, “complex public health problems, and they require a public health policy response”.

Drug addiction is “a medical issue that needs to be tackled properly in a medical way”, agreed her colleague Amanda Rishworth.

Framing drug-taking as a disease over which the user — sorry, victim — has no control is an intellectual delusion common among progressives. Drug takers can’t be blamed; their condition is biologically, neurologically, genetically and environmentally determined. …

Drug use cannot be stopped “by punishing those who are caught up in this illness”, Anne Aly informed the house. It was a job, she said, for “the treatment sector”.

It is a measure of the growth in the availability of state-funded assistance for the drug-addled that we can talk of “the treatment sector” with a straight face. This quasi-medical, quasi-sociological, quasi-psychological industry barely existed a quarter of a century ago. Today it turns over hundreds of millions a year of our money.

The treatment sector, as one would expect, is opposed to drug tests and anything else that encourages drug users to kick their habit. Its business model requires customers to remain hopeless and helpless. Let’s not confuse these poor people by suggesting they could do something to help themselves. Fighting drug addiction is a job for the experts.

The treatment sector’s track record is woeful, of course. The proportion of Australians who admit to using psychoactive substances — about 15 per cent — is the same as it was a decade ago. The social impact of drug use has grown with the spread of methamphetamines.