Pubdate: Sat, 15 Jul 2000
Source: Advertiser, The (Australia)
Author: Bill Stronach
Note: Bill Stronach is the Chief Executive of the Australian Drug Foundation


It is disappointing and frustrating to read the comments (The Advertiser, 
11/7/00) about supervised injecting places made by the International 
Narcotics and Control Board. It highlights the misunderstanding of the 
reasons for establishing these facilities in the first place. Supervised 
injecting places "will not contribute to the reduction of drug abuse and 
trafficking" (their words). That is not the objective.

In the case of supervised injecting facilities, the objectives are clear: 
to save the lives of those who inject drugs in public places and to provide 
them with access to treatment and other support services; to provide a 
safer environment for everyone, with reduced risks like discarded needles 
or inappropriate behavior in public. These objectives can be measured. Any 
sensible strategy to address drug use and misuse must have strong 
education, treatment and law enforcement components working together and 
adequately resourced.

Most Australians support a strengthening of these things. The community 
also supports an approach that is bipartisan. A united commitment to reduce 
drug problems is essential. Let us be clear, safe injecting places will not 
solve the drug problem or even reduce use, but they may be effective ways 
of making our community safer and of saving lives. These are commendable 
results and justify courageous decisions.

Bill Stronach, Chief Executive, Australian Drug Foundation, West Melbourne, Vic.
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