Pubdate: Wed, 01 Jul 2015
Source: Daily Telegraph (Australia)
Copyright: 2015 News Limited
Note: LTE form at bottom of comment page
Author: Miranda Devine
Bookmark: (Methamphetamine)


Matt Noffs means well. But he has fallen for a crackpot idea in his 
quest to help the addicts at the Ted Noffs Foundation crisis centre 
founded by his grandfather. He wants legally sanctioned "ice 
consumption rooms" where methamphetamine addicts can smoke, snort or 
shoot up to their heart's content. No surprise who has been 
whispering in his ear.

"Alex Wodak and I have been drawing up an idea of how an ice 
consumption room could work in the same way that they have, you know, 
crack rooms in the States, where people go to smoke crack," Noffs 
told ABC radio yesterday. "It's a ventilated room; you contain a 
person for a period of time."

He has to be kidding. We are in the grip of an ice epidemic with 
extremely violent consequences that our usually understated Police 
Commissioner Andrew Scipione says could "bring us to our knees as a nation".

Yet Noffs and his behind the scenes urger Wodak, president of the 
decriminalisation lobby group, Australian Drug Reform Foundation, 
want to condone this social menace, and encourage ice addicts to keep using.

They probably want to be kind to addicts, by not challenging their 
self-destructive lifestyles.

Well, I have interviewed dozens of addicts and have not met one who 
doesn't want to be free of drugs. It is unutterably cruel to condemn 
them to a life of chemical bondage because you don't want to appear intolerant.

I'll never forget former heroin addict Sam, then 30, who I 
interviewed six years ago in an addiction centre in Ultimo.

He became angry when talking about the harm minimisation experiments 
of the 1990s, when he was a young teenager, and police turned a blind 
eye to heroin in Cabramatta, "You couldn't ride on the train without 
people asking you 50 times (if you wanted to buy heroin)," he said.

"Why did the government stop police from arresting (dealers)? There 
were no police whatsoever. It was a safe haven for heroin dealers. It 
isn't good for us."

There was a decade's respite after the Howard government launched its 
Tough on Drugs strategy in 1997, including police action which led to 
the heroin drought. Drug use plummeted for the first time in three decades.

But the pendulum has swung back, and drug use is soaring. Ominously, 
police report that drug-related offences in NSW schools are at their 
highest in more than a decade.

There were a staggering 377 drug incidents in schools last year, the 
worst recorded figure in more than a decade, according to the NSW 
Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research.

And this time the violent societal impacts of ice add a frightening 
new dimension.

There is a proven way of helping ice addicts, and it's not to give 
them a nice place to take illegal drugs: Naltrexone implants and a 
modified 12step abstinence program.

But there is only one place left in Australia that hostile drug 
liberalisers haven't driven into the ground.

Perth-based specialist Dr George O'Neill has been treating ice 
addicts with Naltrexone, which blocks the pleasure centres of the 
brain and dulls the euphoric feelings the drug generates.

The slow release implants have helped 75 per cent of patients remain 
abstinent 12 weeks after treatment.

"Not quite as good as with opiates but we are getting very good 
results. There are no other treatments that can work," he said yesterday.

He pointed out that most of the 9600 people he has treated started 
using drugs in their early to mid teens, when they were still at high 
school: "Schools are failing in their duty of care. It is very 
important for (school principals) to realise I will treat 22 people 
tomorrow and all of them will have started in high school."

He's right. Why don't schools regularly drug test students? Most 
parents would welcome it.

But, of course, Noffs and Wodak would scream blue murder. Noffs even 
objects to the NSW Police "Dob In A Drug Dealer or Meth Lab" campaign.

He boasts that "the tide is turning" on drugs "just as it has on 
same-sex marriage".

If you are a parent you should be very worried, because the influence 
of the drug liberalising lobby group is growing in the corridors of 
power, in media and politics.

They pretend the War on Drugs has failed when the white flag was 
hoisted long ago. They have weakened the resolve of authorities to do 
what needs to be done, and misled the community into believing that 
the real problem is too much prohibition, not too little.

The result is that drugs have been virtually decriminalised in NSW.

In so many ways the message is conveyed to young people that drugs 
are more benign than alcohol.

For instance, ice pipes and bongs are legally for sale.

And the incontrovertible truth is that if drugs are decriminalised 
then more teenagers will use them, and the addiction market will grow.

The only way to stop this happening is for responsible mothers and 
fathers to band together and speak up, for their children's sake.
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