Pubdate: Fri, 5 Mar 1999
Source: Canberra Times (Australia)
Author: David Martin


I REFER to the article by Peter Clack entitled "The drug dilemma: a Third
Way? (CT, February 28, p.7): First Mr Clack states that in Canberra, a
0.2-gram deal of heroin costs $6-$7. If this were true, heroin users could
get a fix for the same price as alcohol or nicotine users, there wouldn't be
the current level of heroin-related property crime, and we wouldn't be
having the public debate we are now. I don't know where Mr Clack got this
information from: however I can assure him that such a quantity of heroin
retails for $100-$120 in Canberra. If he expects to pay $6-$7 he will have
to go elsewhere Chiang Mai for example.

Secondly, Mr Clack calls his idea "a Third Way'', as opposed to prohibition
and harm minimisation. It sounds pretty close to zero-tolerance policing to
me. He proposed that people identified as heroin users be detained,
medically examined, assessed by a panel headed by a magistrate and then have
their liberty removed for a period or periods "until they come to their
senses''. Those detained would not have to be committing any offences, they
would just have to appear to be users to "police or specially trained
officer''. This is very similar to the current prohibition regime, only

It would be open to abuse.


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