Pubdate: Fri, 16 Jul 1999
Date: 07/16/1999
Source: Sydney Morning Herald (Australia)
Author: Dr Raymond Seidler

Dear Editor:

General Barry McCaffrey, the US drug policy director, has an
unenlightened attitude to heroin use (Herald, July 14). His view that
addicts feel no emotions and do not love their families is just not

The grind of amassing money to support a heroin habit depresses and
depletes the entire reserve of an addict, both physical and emotional.
It alienates a user from family but surprisingly does not extinguish

Witness the parents of drug users plastering poles with posters of
their lost children and the tears of a young user when relating lost
opportunities for family life.

It is true that many users take heroin to deaden emotional pain but
they are far from emotionless. If anything they are on an
psychological roller-coaster - up one minute and suicidal the next.

And as for marijuana being a gateway drug, well you might as well
implicate Coca-Cola or Vegemite. There is no gateway to drug use. The
smorgasbord is wide open.

For Mr Howard to take advice from a man whose life is predicated on a
war on drugs, which has patently failed and is costing the US
taxpayers $17 billion this year is not rational.

Dr Raymond Seidler,
Kings Cross