“It’s about bloody time”: Perceptions of people who use drugs regarding drug law reform
"این در مورد زمان خونین است": درک افرادی که از مواد مخدر برای اصلاح قانون مواد مخدر استفاده می کنند-2019
Background: In Australia and elsewhere, the impacts of drug prohibition have sparked a critical dialogue about the state of current drug laws. While a range of ‘experts’ have offered their opinion and participation in these deliberations, the voices of the affected community have largely been excluded. This study aimed to gather the opinions and preferences of people who use drugs about the current or alternative models of drug laws, in addition to how they think drug laws could be changed Author Conflict of Interest Declaration. Methods: In March 2018, four focus groups (n=37) were conducted with people who were in receipt of social welfare services in Sydney, Australia, where participants were encouraged to share their views about the current drug laws, drug law reform options, and important messages to politicians. Several themes were identified through a thematic analysis. Results: Models of drug law reform were often understood and expressed in language and constructs different to those commonly used by researchers. Opinions were diverse and there was no consensus on a preferred model, although discussions flowed around decriminalisation, legalisation, and a medical/prescription model; the latter being the preferred approach. Participants shared pessimistic views of the drug laws ever changing, and argued that public opinion would need to adjust for reform to succeed. Furthermore, they argued that the views of the affected community are vital to any drug law reform campaign. Conclusions: Participants affinity towards a medical/prescription approach to drug regulation was an unexpected finding. This study serves as an important example of the opinions and experiential knowledge of the affected community and this knowledge could be solicited alongside other forms of ‘expertise’ in drug law reform campaigns.
Keywords: People who use drugs | Drug law reform | Drug laws | Drug policy | Qualitative | Consumer participation