Pubdate: Wed, 16 Dec 1998
Source: Daily Telegraph (Australia)
Page: 12
Contact:  [1] Garry Womsley, [2] Matt Thistlethwaite

[LETTER # 1]


LORD Mayor Frank Sartor has no idea of what he is doing in lending
support to a heroin trial (Daily Telegraph, December 15).

Prescription heroin administered in medically controlled conditions
will not solve the drug problem in the city.

This may get addicts off the street, but why encourage them to take
more drugs? Is this the example we want to show our youth?

Mr Sartor would be better off opening rehabilitation centres manned by
experts who can help these people in a positive way rather than
feeding their habit.

A more extensive education program in schools from a young age would
be another positive step.

He should advocate harsher penalties for people dealing in drugs.
While we have dealers, there will always be a problem.

What people have to realise is that this problem will not go away by
getting it off the streets.

The do-gooders will obviously come out and say that at least addicts
will be supervised and will receive the best of care.

My answer to them is: What if it was your son or daughter with a bad
drug habit?

Let's get to the root of the problem and eradicate it rather than try
to keep it under control. If Mr Sartor's plan goes ahead, that's all
it will ever be.

[LETTER # 2]


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.


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Checked-by: Rich O'Grady