Pubdate: Fri, 16 Jun 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: Lyndon Smith


I never thought I'd see the word "alternative" next to John Howard and
imminent ex-Opposition Leader Kerry Chikarovski, but I read they
apparently are pushing some sort of "zero-tolerance" alternative drug
summit (Herald, June 13).

Alternative to what: commonsense, compassion, humanity, even, dare I
say, liberalism (which, of course, I realise has nothing to do with
Liberalism anymore)?

Now, who wouldn't be for a zero-tolerance approach to drugs if we
could actually reduce usage to zero? But any reasonable, fair-minded
person can see that we will never be able to do that.

Given that situation, the only humane approach to the drug problem is
harm minimisation.

Now, that doesn't mean you don't try to steer people away from drugs
in the first place, but for those already affected we don't need to
make their lives worse by locking 'em up and throwing away the key.

How many more drug users have to die before the zero-tolerance pushers
face the futility and plain meanness of their misguided quest?

Lyndon Smith, Cremorne.
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