Pubdate: Thu, 24 Sep 1998
Date: 09/24/1998
Source: Canberra Times (Australia)
Author: Michael Booth

THE PRONOUNCEMENT by Nick Bolkus that a cap of heroin now costs $4 is
just plain stupid. The price of a cap varies between $30 and $40, a
figure that can be confirmed by the National Drug and Alcohol Research
Centre as the result of real research.

Once again, a politician has been trying to exploit the drug problem,
with misleading, if not damaging results. This is yet another example
of the phenomenon we should describe as the drug-problem problem -
ill-informed sensationalist comments about drugs and drug use that do
more harm than good.

Hundreds of thousands of parents  around Australia probably now have a
very misleading idea about heroin as a result of the good senator's
shot from the lip.

The real tragedy is that Bolkus had a very real point to make - the
price of heroin has gone down in recent times, while the purity has
gone up. These are not trends that are the result of Howard's zero
tolerance, though the decline in price and the increase in purity has
been going on ever since Hawke's 1984 drug offensive.

Both political parties bear the responsibility for Australian drug