Pubdate: Tue, 04 Jul 2000
Source: Illawarra Mercury (Australia)
Copyright: 2000 Illawarra Newspapers
Author: Ken Russell


Kev Wadeson's remarks (Mercury, June 20) about safe injecting rooms were
riddled with inaccuracies and misconceptions.

He thoroughly confuses the Swedish and Swiss approaches.

I believe he intends to attack the Swiss approach of heroin prescription
trials rather than the Swedish approach of zero tolerance against drug use.

However, his comments - even assuming they refer to Switzerland - are
incorrect. Switzerland's drug-related deaths have fallen in recent years,
since the introduction of their heroin prescription trials.

The safe injecting room trials intended for Australia, rather than "killing
addicts slowly" as Mr Wadeson contends, actually increase the odds of a
heroin user recovering.

It is well known that most addicts require time to make the decision to
quit, and that injecting rooms help keep them alive long enough to make
that decision.

Mr Wadeson also expresses concern that we are making drug dealers richer.
This is quite true and is a clear result of our restrictive drug policy.
The drug market is lucrative because it is a black market.

If you want to impoverish drug dealers, then change our laws and regulate

I would encourage anyone interested in the drug debate to consult which contains the results of most
major studies of the drug problem by governments and organizations

I'd also be happy to discuss the issue with anyone on email KEN RUSSELL,
North Wollongong
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