Source: Sydney Morning Herald (Australia)
Pubdate: Mon, 21 Sep 1998
Author: Michael Booth


The pronouncement by Nick Bolkus that a cap of heroin now costs $5 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.

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 bad 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 have been going on since
Hawke's 1984 drug offensive.

Both political parties bear the responsibility for Australian drug policies.

Michael Booth, Associate lecturer, Faculty of Communication, University of
Canberra, September 18 Canberra.

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Checked-by: Joel W. Johnson