Pubdate: Wed, 03 Apr 2002
Source: Australian Associated Press (Australia Wire)
Copyright: 2002 Australian Associated Press
Bookmark: (Heroin Maintenance)


QUEENSLAND Premier Peter Beattie has rejected renewed calls for a national 
heroin trial. ACT Chief Minister Jon Stanhope this week wrote to Prime 
Minister John Howard and state leaders proposing a jointly funded national 
heroin trial.

But Mr Beattie said he did not believe the trial, which would involve 
prescribing heroin to addicts, would work.

"It may well be that what (Mr Stanhope) is seeking to do may work in the 
ACT," Mr Beattie said.

"I am pessimistic because drug problems are not the same around the world 
or around Australia."

Mr Beattie said research conducted overseas by Queensland Health Minister 
Wendy Edmond last year had not convinced him that either prescribing heroin 
or setting up injecting rooms would work.

"I don't see any evidence anywhere in the world that they do work," Mr 
Beattie said.

"In European trials there is an enormous amount of (health) support for 
those on the trials.

"But what happens when you withdraw that support? The person, in many 
cases, falls over."

Mr Beattie said Queensland would continue its strategy of introducing 
school nurses, trialling a drug court and allowing police to issue warnings 
for people caught using small amounts of marijuana rather than fining or 
jailing them.

"This year we will work with the Prime Minister to see if it can be 
extended to small quantities of other drugs," Mr Beattie said.

"We are prepared to consider examining that issue in the interest of trying 
to save lives."
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