Pubdate: Mon, 8 Mar 1999
Source: Illawarra Mercury (Australia)
Copyright: Illawarra Newspapers
Author: Rob Goodfellow


THE Sun Herald/Taverner poll (February 21) that found two-thirds of
NSW respondents did not want zero tolerance on drug laws relaxed is
deeply concerning.

Clearly public opinion is still dictated by a poor understanding of
the sophistication of Australia's drug trade, which now is estimated
at $7billion a year.

Most people are clearly unaware that since Operation Noah (where
citizens were encouraged to report ``suspicious behaviour'' to the
police) many dealers home deliver.

Heroin is actually delivered to the door. A discreet telephone call, a
car pulls up, takes a turn around the block and then drops off again.
All in a matter of minutes. The dealers are always one step ahead of
the law. The greater the risk, the greater the return.

If Australian politics is essentially poll driven, and it is, the
deplorable consequences of drug criminalisation will continue and,
regrettably get worse.

For this reason it won't be public opinion or political policy that
severs the link between drugs and crime. It will be insurance
companies. One day soon they will have to make the hard commercial
decision that certain postcode areas are a ``bad risk''.

Can you imagine how quickly zero tolerance will give way to harm

Should anyone see fit to accuse me of not having a reason to be
passionate about drugs and crime, in the past 10 years our home has
been broken into twice, my garage and workshop cleared out once, and
three cars stolen.

- - ROB GOODFELLOW, Wollongong.

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