Most people on this planet have used drugs of some sort at various times in their lives; especially when you take into account tobacco, alcohol, caffeine and prescription drugs (anything from antidepressants to cholesterol reducing tabs). In some countries alcohol is illegal but smoking opium is not. I would say it is a human condition to be curious about the unknown or the “forbidden”.

I would say it is in a young person’s nature in particular to test out the “forbidden” (the more forbidden, the more It needs testing out, right?); and so they should. Isn’t it every generation’s responsibility to question the values and laws of the generations that came before them? If not; woman in Australia would still be bare foot, pregnant, kept in the home and homosexuality would still be illegal.

One of my favourite quotes is “It is mankind’s right; nay their duty, to explore altered states of consciousness”. I think this was said by either Albert Hofmann who was the first person to synthesise LSD or Timothy Leary who was one of its most outspoken advocates.

In Australia drug use is definitely on the forbidden list. Not all drug use; we are welcome to use the drugs the government approves of i.e. we can smoke tobacco but not cannabis, we can swallow anti-depressants but not ecstasy, we can drink alcohol but not Liquid G, we can use caffeine to stay awake but not amphetamines, we can inject Botox (botulism) but not heroin.

I’m trying not to judge the people who get to judge us, but they give us so many reasons to question why they make the decisions they do. Why are our laws (made by supposedly shrewd politicians) bound by morals rather than facts? Why does the government listen to religious organisations when they say “we’ll all be doomed if you don’t follow our lead” but not to experts when they say “we’ll all be doomed if we don’t stop the drug war?” So many questions no acceptable answers.

I’m not a scientist, I’m not a genius, I’m not a preacher, I do not understand politics or how the economy works. I do listen to different points of view, I do pay attention to evidence, I do learn more every day and change my opinion constantly as new information comes to light, and I do have faith in people; even the ones who get to umpire this game we call life.

I’m just an ordinary person who gives out picks at the local needle and syringe program; because I don’t like HIV or Hepatitis and I don’t see folk who choose to use drugs as “less than” anyone else. I simply have a vested interest in human rights and I can see this country (like others with damaging drug laws) heading in a dangerously wrong direction. Why can’t the powers that be see the same thing? What really scares me is I believe they do see the same thing and yet choose to ignore the growing evidence that the “drug war” is lost (was lost from the beginning) and are also choosing to ignore the growing number of deaths it brings with it.