Pubdate: Tue, 1 Sep 1998 
Source: The Chronicle (Canberra, Australia) 
Contact: Fax +61 2 6239 1345 
Author: Colliss Parrett


THE LEGISLATIVE Assembly Speaker, Greg Cornwell, was 100 per cent correct
when he said, in the article "The drug dilemma" (The Chronicle, August 25):
"I don't believe we've even started to fight".

And anti-corruption Royal Commissioner Athol Moffitt's reported statement
in the same article that harm minimisation is a defeatist strategy is also
100 per cent correct.

The community is not stupid, and it knows full well that the message "don't
take drugs" will not be observed by all. It wasn't with tobacco so why
would it with heroin or cannabis etc?

But it is vital to recognise that the prohibitionist "don't smoke" message
has reduced smoking rates from 75 per cent to 25 per cent, mainly in the
last 30 years. A fantastic achievement.

Why so effective? Essentially because, although smoking was (is) legal,
governments, health authorities and the general community made it socially

Well may the community ask why, with such a successful prohibitionist
policy on smoking, do pro-legalisation advocates pursue a philosophy which
will make illicit drugs more socially acceptable?

That one is licit and the others illicit makes no difference.

The compassionate - saving of lives is not the answer either, as we all
want that.

It's what happens after the opiate addicts.

That's why help should always be there for their second or third attempts.
It worked with smokers as we now have more ex-smokers than smokers. And if
politicians reject shooting galleries and heroin trials it will work for
opiate addicts as well.

In short, the dilemma is not caused by drugs, it's caused by not adopting
the right policy.

Colliss Parrett 
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Checked-by: Richard Lake