Pubdate: Wed, 28 Nov 2001
Source: Australian Associated Press (Australia Wire)
Copyright: 2001 Australian Associated Press
Bookmarks: (Safe Injecting Rooms) (Heroin Maintenance)


INJECTING rooms will not be an option for West Australian heroin
addicts, after the government rejected the notion on the basis that
WA's drug problem was not as concentrated as in other cities.

And, despite a state government endorsement for prescription heroin
trials, WA addicts will not be able to access this treatment either
because of lack of federal government support.

The government was responding today to recommendations made in August
by a community drugs summit, set up to look at ways of reducing drug
use in the community.

Safe injecting rooms was a key recommendation of the summit, attended
by 100 delegates from addicts to academics - and was the only one of
45 suggestions rejected by the government.

An injecting room opened in Sydney's Kings Cross in May this year
after several years of contentious debate.

But Premier Geoff Gallop said WA would not follow suit because drug
use in Perth was not as concentrated on the streets as in other
cities, meaning the city would not get enough value for its money.

"Drug use is spread throughout the community - we don't have the same
extent of the problem that we get in Victoria and NSW," Dr Gallop said.

Dr Gallop said the government backed the recommendation for
prescription heroin trials but he said lack of federal government
support meant they could not go ahead.

"The fact of the matter is the federal government needs to give its
endorsement and he (Prime Minister John Howard) has made it clear that
he is not going to allow any heroin trials in Australia."

Holding the community drugs summit was a key election pledge of the
Gallop government.

Dr Gallop said $5 million would be added to the $51 million drugs
prevention budget - much of which would be used to address the needs
of young drug users and those from indigenous or non-English-speaking

The decriminalisation of cannabis was endorsed by the Gallop
government in response to the summit proposals.

People discovered with up to two plants or 25 grams would be dealt
with outside the criminal system under the proposals.
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