Pubdate: Wed, 16 Dec 1998
Date: 12/16/1998
Source: Daily Telegraph (Australia)
Author: Matt Thistlethwaite
Page: 12

The Sydney City Council decision to back the trial supply of
prescription heroin for registered dependent long-term users
represents a win for commonsense.

Finally, a body of government has recognised that the best way to
reduce the damage caused by drug use in our society is to treat drug
addicts as people with a health problem, not criminals.

While the cost to our society, and the average person's exposure to
drug use, has been increasing, most politicians (including Prime
Minister John Howard) still put popularity before good policy and the
interests of our community.

The tough-on-drugs approach has not worked. Drug addiction and related
crime rates have blown out.

The anecdotal evidence from heroin trials overseas demonstrates that
registered supply in a controlled environment, coupled with intensive
rehabilitation, reduces crime and increases employment among
participants. Even for those only interested in their own welfare,
these results are a benefit.

The Sydney City Council should be commended for its decision. This
policy stance accords with numerous UN resolutions and the advice of
the World Health Organisation.

Matt Thistlethwaite