Pubdate: Mon, 22 Mar 1999
Source: Canberra Times (Australia)
Author: Brian McConnell, President Families and Friends for Drug Law Reform


PETER TRICKETT'S article "Optimism a winner with drugs" (CT, 19 March,
p.13) attempts to discredit my objective description of Swedish drugs
policy ("Simple slogans no answer to drugs", CT, 12 March, p.15) by
pointing to the table of overdose deaths, which he describes as
"wildly inaccurate". The table represents all overdose deaths from
illegal drugs, not just heroin as he wrongly assumes.

Heroin overdose is not the only cause of overdose drug

A re-examination of my article will clarify for him that I was
referring to all illegal drugs.

The source of the figures is the "Annual report on the state of the
drugs problem in the European Union 1998". That report shows 250
"acute drug-related deaths" in 1996 for a population of 8.8 million
(i.e. 28.4 deaths per million). This figure, incidentally, has increased
from 113 deaths some six years earlier.

Now that the accuracy of the table is confirmed, will Mr Trickett
accept the balance of the article as accurate and reconsider his
rose-coloured view of Swedish drug policy?

Incidently, Families and Friends for Drug Law Reform does not advocate
legalising all drugs (whatever that means) but we do advocate a search
for a better drug-policy solution than the current policy, which
causes the deaths of more than 600 young people each year. In that
search for better drug policies we have concluded that the Swedish
approach does not hold the answer.

B. McCONNELL President Families and Friends for Drug Law Reform

- ---
MAP posted-by: Rich O'Grady