Pubdate: Fri, 24 Jul 1998
Date: 07/24/1998
Source: Daily Telegraph (Australia)
Author: Tony Trimingham

IN FIGHTING the drug menace we have to be open to innovation and look
at anything that offers hope. However, I believe the proposed system
of drug courts (Daily Telegraph, July 23) raises more questions than
it offers solutions.

Firstly, there are insufficient detoxification and rehabilitation
places for those who voluntarily seek treatment, with waiting lists
extending up to three months at some centres.

Secondly, it is commonly accepted that people cannot be forced into
treatment for any illness and, therefore, it is hard to accept the
supposed success rate of 96 per cent.

Voluntary treatments have a success rate of around 10 per cent on
average so it is difficult to see an achievement of better than this
in a compulsory system.

Real innovation would be to take drug use completely out of the crime
area and put it where it belongs - in the health sector.

Tony Trimingham
Family Drug Support Willoughby