Pubdate: Mon, 21 Jun 1999
Date: 06/21/1999
Source: Canberra Times (Australia)
Author: David Rennie

Peter Trickett (Letters, CT 16 June) claims that a Swiss heroin trial
failed because only 5 per cent of drug users were abstaining after
three years. He doesn't provide comparative figures for the hugely
expensive prohibitionist policies he advocates.

His argument that a primary aim of heroin trials is the reduction of
drug use by existing users is fallacious.

The primary aim of drug trials is to reduce the social harm caused by
illegal drug use.

Drug trials seek to achieve this by:

a. undercutting the profits of drug importers by providing heroin at
an economically realistic price;

b. eliminating the promotion of drug use by addicts seeking to find a
way of funding their unnecessarily expensive habit;

c. eliminating the health consequences of addicts' acquiring impure
products that are significantly different from those they are expecting;

d. eliminating the tremendous social costs of the high crime rate,
police enforcement and penitentiary activities consequent on
attempting to enforce the existing prohibitionist policy;

e. eliminating the corruption that is endemic when attempting to
enforce the current laws.

I believe that the time has come for the advocates of prohibition to
be required to provide some evidence in support of their policies,
which appear to have consistently failed. It is the supporters of the
existing policy who should be required to demonstrate their success.
They are the ones who have no evidence of success. Unless they can
show that their policies are achieving success in the fight against
drug abuse, why should the rest of society be forced to pay
financially and socially for their failure.

I want successful policies, I am happy to pay for them, I am not
prepared to keep paying for the failure that is prohibition.

David Rennie,