The war on drugs, eh? What is it good for? Absolutely nothin’, if we take the experts at their word. People are still dunking pills on the reg; a lot of those pills are still being cut with battery acid and bath salts to maximise black market profit; and every labrador at every music festival is still turning out to be a bloody adorable waste of money.
You’d be forgiven if, after decades of fruitless struggles and sunk costs, your faith in the government’s staunch anti-drug policy was starting to wane. Everyone, even the pollies, can see that the current system isn’t working. So how do we fix it?
Well, how about more sniffer dogs in high schools? Is that maybe where we’re going wrong? Yep, you know what, that’s got to be it. Not enough sniffer dogs in high schools.
That’s more or less the stance of Steven Marshall, South Australian Leader of the Opposition, and Terry Mills, independent MP and former Chief Minister of the Northern Territory. Both Marshall and Mills are barracking for the introduction of a program that would see police dog units conducting random visits to high schools in South Australia and the Northern Territory in order to curb the spread of methamphetamine among students.
“If you’re going to say you’ve got a zero tolerance policy or attitude against drugs and school communities … then the presence of a sniffer dog at a random time could really reinforce the principle of zero tolerance and it would assist the school in maintaining that standard,” said Mills, a former principal at a Northern Territory school. “Sometimes you need measures like this to really make it clear to the school community where you stand on certain things.”
Mills reckons the problem is that we’re putting too much emphasis on preventative and therapeutic measures, where we should be giving wrongdoers a good hard slap on the wrist. It’s a stance that flies in the face of what many of the experts are telling us – including Rick Sarre, Professor of Law and Criminal Justice at the University of South Australia.
“If there’s some suggestion that in some way it’s a deterrent, then the framers of this idea have got deterrent theory all wrong,” says Sarre. “When you’re dealing with someone… who’s dabbling with it, the last thing you want to do is highlight and shame that particular person… And to those people who are so deeply embedded in counter-culture, to suggest that they would be deterred by that particular behaviour is laughable.”
Sarre goes on to criticise the exorbitant costs involved in rolling out a program like this, and insists that “any number of anti drug campaigners would tell you what could be better done with those dollars.
“What you do is you spend your money on dealing with the dysfunctionality of their lives, you don’t spend your money on the so-called band-aid solution and in some way try to beat a populist chest by suggesting that police and dogs storming into schools and grabbing misfits is in some way going to be solving that particular problem.”
More on this as it breaks, but hopefully it just doesn’t.
Source: Education HQ Australia
Feature image: Stuff NZ
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