Pubdate: Wed, 26 Aug 2015
Source: Courier-Mail, The (Australia)
Copyright: 2015 Queensland Newspapers
Author: Chris Roylance


TRUTH is the first casualty of war.

So when Tim Badrick (Letters, Aug 25) calls for mandatory jail 
sentences in the war on drugs, on the basis that "many ice addicts 
start out smoking cannabis", that ice is "the second worst drug on 
the planet" and opines about an "ice epidemic", then a reality check 
is long overdue.

According to the latest government statistics, only 2.1 per cent of 
Australians reported using methamphetamine in the 12 months prior to 
the survey - hardly an "epidemic" since use has remained stable for 
at least the last 10 years.

By comparison, 80 per cent of Australians are alcohol users, a 
product which causes far more harm, misery and death than all illegal 
drugs combined. So rather than perpetuate yet another fear campaign 
lacking perspective and corroborating evidence, let us instead have 
an adult conversation on the underlying issues leading to substance abuse.

Despite an enviable quality of life and material possessions, 
Australians are increasingly eating, drinking or drugging themselves 
to an early death, with suicide and depression rates a far greater 
concern than the latest fear campaign. Let's treat all substance 
abuse as a health issue, educating those most at risk about making 
positive changes to their lives so that they can address the 
fundamental issues which lead them to seek solace in drugs.

At least this has some chance of working, unlike a "jail them all" approach.

Chris Roylance, Paddington
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