"An Expensive Way Of Achieving Failure": 'Four Corners' To Examine Drug Laws Next Week

11 February 2016 | 3:14 pm | Staff Writer

The stalwart ABC news program will delve deep into party-drug culture this Monday

Long-running ABC investigative news program Four Corners is putting the spotlight on Australia's dance-party drug culture with a special episode titled Dying To Dance next week.

Reported by Gold Walkley-winning journalist Caro Meldrum-Hanna, the episode will reveal several truths about those who engage with party drugs such as ecstasy, with one anonymous user telling her, "It's cheaper than alcohol; one pill's 20 bucks and it'll last you four hours."

"People are like, 'It's so dangerous, you don't know what you're taking,' and, well, actually, we're taking it anyway," another says.

The episode comes in the wake of the deaths of seven young Australians over the past year from party-drug use, as well as a notable spike in hospital admissions as concerns about substance purity grows even further. Not that these statistics have done anything to stem the tide of people experimenting with drugs when they're out and about.

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"Like, sometimes you have a car crash but you still drive your car," a user tells Meldrum-Hanna, while another states frankly: "We're in the 21st century. If the government thinks that people are going to stop taking drugs, they're kidding themselves."

It's a sentiment that appears to be spreading beyond solely those who engage in drug culture, however, with a chorus of medical, legal and authority figures expressing the belief that the multi-billion-dollar war on drugs is now — and arguably always has been — a lost cause.

"We should be doing everything we can to ensure that, if kids do experiment in this way when they're young, they're going to survive the experience," one such identity, a former senior police officer, tells Four Corners.

A drug-law reform expert adds: "This law enforcement effort is not only not effective but is actually harmful. The focus on drug law enforcement has been an expensive way of achieving failure."

Dying To Dance will air at 8.30pm this Monday, 15 February. It will be available on iview and online at Four Corners' website, with replays on Tuesday 16 (10am) and Wednesday 17 February (11pm), as well as being broadcast on ABC News 24 on Saturday at 8pm.