Pubdate: Tue, Oct 27, 1998
Source: Herald Sun (Australia)
Page: 20
Copyright: News Limited 1998
Author: Brian McConnell


A YOUNG man died in a toilet in a capital city in Australia last week. The
toilet was the only safe place he knew to use his heroin, but for him it
proved fatal.

He was alone, no one was with him to see that he was all right. As his life
slipped away, the locked door to the toilet remained closed for a few
precious minutes to hide his predicament. More precious minutes were also
lost while help was called.

If ever there was a case for safe injecting facilities, this is it. It
would have provided a place where his use could have been supervised, where
help would have been immediate and 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 he those with grey, flinty hearts who will say it was his choice
and if he had simply said "no" he would be alive. The simple fact is 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 providing safe injecting facilities, then there is a moral
obligation to do so.

Brian McConnell, president,
Families and Friends for Drug Law Reform, Higgins, ACT

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