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Illicit drugs: Part 3 - Essay Example

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How does the criminal justice system respond to ONE of the forms of crime addressed in the last part of the unit? …
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Illicit drugs: Part 3
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Download file to see previous pages The economic forces related to illicit drug prohibition increases the market price of these substances by forcing the trade underground, reducing supply, and increasing the amount of risk associated with distribution. The unregulated cash market surrounding the distribution and use of illicit drugs offers the promise of fast money to innumerable criminal entrepreneurs who profit off of the public use of the drugs despite the legal prohibition against them. Current drug policy suggests that a broad variety of recreational use of these substances is prohibited on greater public safety concerns. This policy attempts to address user demand issues through education programs, but these are largely accepted to have been unsuccessful in changing the social demand for illicit drugs popularly. The resulting criminalization of possession and distribution of illicit drugs then leads to a wider problem in prisons, such as incarceration for individuals guilty only non-violent crimes related to prohibition on a moral basis. This reflects the broader social debate as to whether or not it is truly the proper role of government to criminalize the use of illicit drugs through prohibition.


Most sources agree that Australia’s social problem with illicit drug use in the citizenry began in the early 1960’s and increased steadily to epidemic proportions. Australia’s problem with illicit drugs largely follows trends in the US, UK, Canada, EU, and other developed economies with the legal framework based in international agreements. The historical treaties that influenced Australia’s domestic illicit drug policy include (MacKay, 2001):
The First International Opium Commission (Shanghai Conference) of 1909 The Second International Opium Convention of 1925 The Convention for Limiting the Manufacture and Regulating the Distribution of Narcotic Drugs – Geneva, 1931 The Paris Protocol, 1948 The Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs 1961 The Convention on Psychotropic Substances 1971 According to a special report prepared on Australian illicit drug policy for the Canadian Parliament, “The Paris Protocol 1948 ceded to the World Health Organization the power to determine which new drugs should be treated as ‘dangerous drugs’ for the purpose of the 1931 Convention. The Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs 1961 consolidated and further extended control over the international and domestic drug trades. It sought to limit the possession, use, trade, distribution, import, export, manufacture and production of drugs exclusively for medical purposes. It also combated drug trafficking through international cooperation. The Single Convention was instrumental in prompting a major rewriting, updating and extension of legislation at state level. The Convention on Psychotropic Substances 1971 further extended international controls to include a broad range of synthetic behaviour- and mood-altering drugs.” (MacKay, 2001) During the period of 1960 to 1970, the government largely was forced to develop new law enforcement approaches to drug use and distribution, which not only criminalized a portion of society, but also pushed drug use underground ...Download file to see next pages Read More
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