Pubdate: Thu, 13 Jul 2000
Source: Australian, The (Australia)
Copyright: News Limited 2000
Author: Bill Stronach


It is disappointing and frustrating to read the comments about
supervised injecting places made by the International Narcotics and
Control Board (11/7).  They highlight the misunderstanding of the
reasons for establishing these facilities in the first place.

Supervised injecting places the board says, "will not contribute to
the reduction of drug abuse and trafficking".  That is not the objective.

In the case of supervised injecting facilities, the objectives are
clear: to save the lives of those who inject drugs in public places
and to provide them with access to treatment and other support
services; to provide a safer environment for everyone, with reduced
risks such as discarded needles or inappropriate behaviour in public. 
These objectives can be measured.

Any sensible strategy to address drug use and misuse must have strong
education, treatment and law enforcement components - working together
and adequately resourced.  Most Australians support a strengthening of
these things.  The community also supports an approach that is
bipartisan.  A united commitment to reduce drug problems is essential.

Let us be clear - safe injecting places will not solve the drug
problem, or even reduce use.  But they may be effective ways of making
our community safer, and saving lives.  These are both commendable
results, and justify courageous decisions.

Bill Stronach Is Chief Executive, Australian Drug Offensive, West Melbourne
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