Pubdate: Mon, 17 Jul 2006
Source: Australian, The (Australia)
Copyright: 2006sThe Australian
Author: AAP
Bookmark: (Decrim/Legalization)
Bookmark: (Hepatitis)
Bookmark: (Heroin)
Bookmark: (Methadone)
Bookmark: (Needle Exchange)


CLINICALLY produced heroin would be imported into Australia to trial 
a new treatment for long-term addicts under the Victorian Greens drug 
policy released today. Supervised heroin injection rooms, such as one 
running in Sydney's Kings Cross, would also be trialled in Victoria 
while the policy also proposes to scrap all criminal penalties for drug use.

The production, sale or trafficking of illicit drugs would remain an 
offence, but users would only face a court order requiring them to 
participate in a health scheme.

Greens Victorian upper house candidate Colleen Hartland, who unveiled 
the policy today at a needle exchange facility in Footscray, said the 
proposals would "minimise the harm (and) save lives".

"Current approaches are not working, so it is time to step back from 
the emotional debate and work to implement programs that will 
effectively tackle the problems associated with legal and illegal 
drugs," Ms Hartland said.

The heroin trial was needed for those addicts who, through their 
long-term use, had become resistant to methadone based treatments, she said.

"It's not the decriminalisation of heroin," Ms Hartland said.

"It's about having a trial to see whether people with long-term 
chronic use can be assisted in this way."

Greens health adviser Dr Richard Di Natale said the drug would not be 
manufactured in Australia, but imported from pharmaceutical companies 
that supplied other heroin trials across the globe.

The Greens policy also proposes to regulate medicinal marijuana use, 
while needle exchange facilities would be rolled out statewide to cut 
rates of hepatitis and HIV infection amongst users.

The legal drugs, alcohol and tobacco, are also targeted, with the 
Greens calling for a ban on all tobacco advertising and sponsorship, 
and an end to advertisements that "glamorise" alcohol particularly in 
the eyes of teenagers.

"So often in Australia we don't see those as being drugs," Ms Hartland said.

"Heroin and illicit drugs are incredibly destructive for the people 
using them and their families, but someone who is an alcoholic can be 
as destructive within their family."

A Victorian Drugs Policy Research Institute would also be established 
to oversee the trials in conjunction with a new management regime.
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