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Will drugs be decriminalised in Australia?

By Alex Jones, Melbourne

Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard has clashed with her Foreign Minister Bob Carr over the decriminalising of drugs.

The clash comes following a report by a leading think tank in Australia which claimed the war on drugs had been lost and  the tough law-and-order approach being used was doing more harm than good.

The think tank, which included health ministers, former federal law enforcement officers and state premiers including Bob Carr, concluded that the government had driven drug production and consumption underground.

PM Gillard disagreed with these findings.

She said: “Drugs kill people, they rip families apart, they destroy lives and we want to see less harm done by drug usage.

“We want to make sure we are supporting people to get treatment options and we are getting our police to do what they rightly should be doing, which is policing our laws on drugs.”

Senator Carr responded by saying: “I sponsored a medically supervised injecting room so that people who are hooked on this wretched, addictive white powder would have a chance.

“While they were there, you could persuade them to give the stuff up and to enter treatment to get off it.”

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