Pubdate: Wed, 19 Jan 2000
Source: Sydney Morning Herald (Australia)
Author: David Stone
Note: For our readers' convenience, the letter being replied to is repeated
below. It was published in the Sydney Morning Herald Jan. 17, 2000 and will
soon be a separate MAP archive item itself.


Just in case anyone still listens to Fred Nile's ravings (Herald, January
17), I thought some facts might be useful:Studies in Queensland and the
United States have concluded that needle and syringe exchange programs
(NSEPs) reduce unsafe equipment disposal.The Commonwealth Department of
Health estimated in 1991 that Australia's NSEPs prevented between 300 and
10,000 cases of HIV and saved the health system $266 million in HIV/AIDS
treatment and care.Studies in Sydney and the US have concluded that NSEPs do
not encourage people to become drug users.In NSW, there is a service which
will pick up and dispose of discarded syringes.

It is available by phoning 1800 633 353.

Australia's harm-minimisation response to HIV is internationally recognised
as pre-eminent. If there is a "cruel hoax", it is that the good reverend
continues to value the "message" we send to our children over their lives.

David Stone, President, AIDS Council of NSW, Darlinghurst


Various HIV/AIDS experts are trying to relieve leading ironman Jonathon
Crowe's fears by claiming the risk of HIV is "from one in 10,000 ... to
essentially zero" (Herald, January 10).

However, in 1985 a cruel hoax was played upon Australian politicians when
they were told to support "harm minimisation" policies and distribution of
free heroin needles "to stop the spread of AIDS".

This distribution of free heroin needles has risen from thousands to 20
million in 1998, including 9.8 million in NSW.

Jonathon Crowe's well-intentioned call for legal "shooting galleries"
(Herald, January 10) is not the way to go, as free needles, free "shooting
galleries" and even free heroin "trials", etc, is sending a dangerous
message to Australian youth that heroin is OK - hence the threefold increase
in heroin use.

Free needles and free "shooting galleries" must be scrapped and replaced
with free rapid detox naltrexone rehabilitation clinics.

- - The Rev Fred Nile, Sydney.
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MAP posted-by: Don Beck