Pubdate: Tue, 15 Aug 2000
Source: Canberra Chronicle (Australia)
Fax: +61 2 6239 1345
Author: Michael Gardiner, Red Hill


I BELIEVE Canberra's good reputation as a caring and tolerant society 
was damaged the day ACT Legislative Assembly members rejected the safe 
injecting room.  

Assembly members who have rejected a proven medical program which saves 
lives, are either totally ignorant of drug addiction or are only 
interested in power or popularity (certainly not courage or 
leadership). Either way the rejection of this small trial is, I 
believe, a crime against humanity. Considering most major health 
authorities in the world state quite clearly, drug addiction is a 
health problem. When one considers that there is not a scrap of 
evidence to prove our present tough-on-drugs laws are working and 
reduce harm to those most in danger.  

In fact, there is clear evidence to prove our present drug laws only 
cost huge amounts of money and cost thousands of lives.  It is 
therefore clear Assembly members are putting lives at risk supporting 
our present drug laws.  

I hope Assembly members remember the thousands of family and friends 
who have lost loved ones from heroin overdose death, since these 
punitive laws were introduced, how offensive this rejection must be to 

It would be a major step forward to believe that Assembly members do 
have a sense of humanity by stating publicly their deep regret for the 
loss of the safe injecting room, and say sorry to the family and 
friends, who will lose loved ones, from heroin overdose death, without 
medical help, some in toilets, or dark alleys, alone, without dignity 
or hope.  

Shame on those members who show no remorse for their rejection of a 
health trial to save lives.  
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