Pubdate: Mon, 22 Mar 1999
Source: Illawarra Mercury (Australia)
Copyright: Illawarra Newspapers
Page: 16
Author: Tom McCrimmon


I WAS addicted to heroin for most of the 1970s and did a lot of harm
to myself and my family. By the grace of God, I can now speak as one
of the success stories. I went through a long-term residential
rehabilitation program which helped me redress the underlying
personality problems that led to my drug dependency. This gave me a
fresh start in life and I have never looked back. I haven't touched a
drug for 18 years.

Since completing my rehabilitation in 1984 I have acquired extensive
experience working in this field, first as a counsellor and then as a

I am strongly against any proposal to lift prohibition on heroin and I
have no doubt in my mind as an ex-addict that every effort should be
made to restrict the supply of heroin as much as possible rather than
making it easier to access.

The bottom line with the addictive potential of heroin is that the
more you get, the more you want.

Drug abuse usually starts with peer pressure, but leads to dependence
in people who are looking for an escape from their personal problems.
The more severe their problems, the greater the dependency and the
more likely the dependency will be on heroin.

Giving them heroin or methadone only deals with the physical
withdrawal symptoms and does nothing to address the psychological
problems. This is why I am a strong advocate of long-term residential

Recovery from heroin addiction takes a long time and a lot of
resources. There are no short-cuts or quick-fixes to this problem, but
it's taking a long time for politicians, the general community, and
many treatment services to understand this.

It is time to increase our investment in long-term residential
treatment services so that our community can reap the long-term benefits.

- ---
MAP posted-by: Derek Rea