Pubdate: Tue, 11 Jul 2000
Source: Border Mail (Australia)
Author: B. McConnell


TWO letters in your paper on June 28 seriously misinform on drugs.

Communities need to join this debate with accurate information if they are 
to find better solutions to the drug problem.

Harm minimisation policy, as it relates to illicit drugs, is not unlike 
that which relates to legal alcohol.

The introduction of low alcohol beer is harm minimisation.

Harm minimisation also occurs in much of our day-to-day lives; wearing of 
seat belts, wearing of bicycle helmets, smoke alarms in our homes, the list 
goes on.

It is pure common sense.

Harm minimisation is not about normalising drug use as Julianne Whyte suggests.

It would be just as silly to say wearing seat belts normalises car 
accidents or using smoke alarms normalises house fires.

Julianne Whyte proposes that we make strong negative judgments against drug 

This is what we are doing now.

Unfortunately if drug users believe they will be judged and punished they 
are more likely to be secretive and less likely to seek treatment.

Similarly if their families treat them this way the drug user is less 
likely to confide their problems.

Sumner Berg's suggestion of conditional rehabilitation shows lack of 
understanding of the nature of addiction.

There are too many people and families getting into trouble with illicit 
drugs such as heroin.

We can no longer afford to think of them as no-good "junkies".

Let's try to help in a more compassionate way.

B. McCONNELL, President, Families and Friends for Drug Law Reform, Canberra
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