Pubdate: Mon, 26 Oct 1998
Source: Canberra Times (Australia)
Author: Brian McConnell


LAST WEEK a young man died in a toilet in the city. The toilet was the
only safe place he knew to use his heroin.

But for him it proved to be fatal.

He was alone, there was no one with him to see that he was all

As his life slipped away, the door to the toilet had locked
automatically and remained closed for a few precious minutes to hide
his predicament. More precious minutes were also lost while help was

If ever there was a case for safe injecting facilities this is just
such a case. It would have provided a place where his use could have
been supervised and where help would have been immediate - where those
precious minutes along with his life would not have ebbed away. And a
case where the provision of other support services may have enabled
him to regain control of his life and maybe put him on the path to a
drug free life. There will be those with grey, flinty hearts that will
say it was his choice and, if he had simply said ''no'', he would be

The simple fact is that he did not say ''no'' - but he did not deserve
to die.

Society must respond appropriately to this reality and, if a life can
be saved by provision of safe injecting facilities, then there is a
moral obligation to provide them.

BRIAN McCONNELL President, Families and Friends for Drug Law Reform
- ---
Checked-by: Patrick Henry