Georgina Barrter’s death at Harbourside last weekend ignited a debate surrounding illegal drug use amongst Australian youth. Nothing gets the public worked into a frenzy like the death of a beautiful, young, wealthy white girl. The strange thing was how shocked everyone was acting that a regular, middle class girl could be swept up in the seedy world of drugs. Are the conservative older generation really that out of touch? The whole drugs are just for junkies and loser’s thing is just an outright lie we tell ourselves so we can sit happy and ignore the real problem. The truth is that practically everyone I know past the age of twenty has tried so-called hard drugs like MDMA. And don’t be surprised if more pretty, young, wealthy people die in the future if you refuse to acknowledge the fact that these kids want to party and will find a way to get high regardless of what you do to try and stop them. The Solution: Legalise it. Regulate it. Tax it for expenditure on healthcare programs designed to combat addiction and other negative aspects of drug use. Because let’s be realistic here, anyone who has taken these kinds of drugs know that they are awesome when taken in the right way, with the right stuff, in the right environment. So let’s stop talking about waging war on drugs, and start accepting some of the truths. Because if we can’t have a frank and honest discussion about our drug habits, about the negatives and the positives, then Georgina Barrter’s death will all be for naught.
While we are on the topic of drug wars, let’s take a break from Australia for just a second to see how well we’re fairing in other parts of the world. Mexico, for instance has just seen the wanton massacre of 43 students at the hands of cartel thugs and police officers. The sickening news is that the initial order to take out the students came from a local city mayor.
This however, is just the most recent development in Mexico’s attempt to wage war on drugs; the total death toll is up somewhere closer to 80000. The narcotics trade in Mexico is primarily focused on fuelling rampant drug consumption in The States, which is a billion dollar market for drug lords and the politicians that are on their payroll. The hashtag that has now become the popular slogan for protestors who are fed up with political corruption and a war that has taken more lives than any drug in the country is – YaMeCanse – I’m tired of this. Political corruption, endless war, unnecessary loss of life – this is what we have to show for the War on Drugs.
So it seems that waging war on an inanimate object is harder than it looks. Although one has to wonder, was there ever any intention to win this war? Or is just another protracted conflict aimed at distracting the public from the real issues at hand. No one wants to face the genuine health problems involved with drug use. Beyond nice, well-educated white girls, there are hundreds of junkies and addicts who are marginalised for their problems and criminalised for their behaviour. People who are dying every day, who won’t be on the front page of tomorrow’s paper, who have been failed because our policy on drugs has been to ignore the medical problems in favour of chasing criminal convictions. But it’s not too late to face up to our failures and reassess this situation - hopefully Georgina Barrter’s death will serve as a wake-up call for us all.