Pubdate: Wed, 14 Mar 2007
Source: Australian, The (Australia)
Copyright: 2007sThe Australian
Author: AAP
Bookmark: (Decrim/Legalization)
Bookmark: (Methamphetamine)


NSW PREMIER Morris Iemma today condemned as "absurd and disgusting" a 
plan by the Greens to decriminalise the use of drugs, including ice.

Greens leader Lee Rhiannon said the election policy aimed to treat 
users and punish dealers.

"For individual drug users, we need to be giving them treatment," 
said Ms Rhiannon, an Upper House MP.

"The policies of the state Government have failed because it's under 
the Iemma Government that we've had this huge increase in the use of 
drugs like ice."

But Mr Iemma, on the campaign trail today in Broken Hill, said such a 
policy would never go ahead because fair-minded people would not support it.

He accused the Greens of trying to score "a cheap bit of publicity".

"It is just an absurd, ridiculous and disgusting policy," he said.

Mr Iemma said any MP who supported such a policy was "completely out 
of touch with reality".

Ms Rhiannon said there were more than 17,700 regular methamphetamine 
users and 14,700 dependent methamphetamine users in Sydney and the 
number was growing rapidly.

"What is needed are prevention initiatives that educate the target 
populations to the dangers of using the drug and effective and 
accessible treatment programs for dependent and addicted users," she said.

Ms Rhiannon challenged Mr Iemma to a debate on the issue, saying it 
would allow the public to decide whether NSW was on the right track.

A spokeswoman for Ms Rhiannon said the Greens would be happy to hold 
the debate on television, radio, or at a public forum before the 
March 24 state election.
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MAP posted-by: Beth Wehrman