Pubdate: Thu, 30 Nov 2000
Source: Sydney Morning Herald (Australia)
Copyright: 2000 The Sydney Morning Herald
Contact:  GPO Box 3771, Sydney NSW 2001
Fax: +61-(0)2-9282 3492
Author: Tony Trimingham


I suspect Sally Loane reflects the views of many when she says she has
difficulty accepting that a dependent heroin user should have the same
anti-discrimination rights as disabled athletes like Louise Sauvage (Herald,
November 27).

Because of the many negative impacts on society resulting from drug
dependence it is hard to find compassion or tolerance for those who are drug
dependant. But the reality is that not all drug users commit crime, abuse
their families or live on the margins. Most on methadone treatment lead
ordered and stable lives.

However, employers should not have to pay for unproductive workers.
Nuisances and intoxicated individuals should not infringe on personal space.

But we all have basic rights which should be fought for and protected. We
should never be victimised for our disabilities - whether it is Louise
Sauvage or the young woman I spoke to last week who had been fired after her
boss found take-away methadone in her handbag or the young man who was
sacked after informing his boss about impending detox treatment.

The truth is, Sally, that this ruling is not important for the "heroin
addict and his bag of dope and syringes" but for the human beings struggling
to battle not only a powerful addiction but also the attitudes of those who
influence opinion.

Tony Trimingham, Family Drug Support, Willoughby, November 27.
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