Pubdate: Thu, 15 Apr 1999
Source: Canberra Times (Australia)
Author: Geoff Page, Narrabundah
Note: Original OPED posted at


I notice the predictable responses from Greg Pfeiffer (Letters, 10 April)
and Peter Trickett (Letters, 11 April) to my article "The great sidestep on
heroin" (CT, 7 April, p.9) daring to ask why drugs such as heroin should be
illegal in the first place.

I should point out to Mr Pfeiffer that Families and Friends for Drug Law
Reform has no single solution to the drug problem but is united in the
belief that present forms of prohibition are not working and are unlikely to
work. It welcomes all constructive proposals to the debate.

There is no "secret agenda" to legalise all drugs but, rather, a commitment
to look for better alternatives to the present failed regime.

In regard to Mr Trickett's hyperbolic scenario about "specials" of pure
heroin in the supermarket, I can only ask him whether he, as convener of
People for a Drug-Free Society, would take advantage of such an unlikely
opportunity. I suspect not.

As a voting member of our democracy, he does not need me to legislate to
prevent him. He can make up his own mind and, knowing as much about heroin
as, I would think, we both do, he will probably decide it is not a good deal
after all.

Why does he presume that other adult citizens need more protection than he
does? This is exactly the kind of presumptuousness I was referring to.

I did admit in my article that the controlled availability of currently
illicit drugs would have "some negative consequences" and that such a
proposal might seem "apocalyptic", but neither Mr Pfeiffer nor Mr Trickett
has disproved the logic of my argument.

Meanwhile, the number of deaths from overdoses of illicit (i.e. unregulated,
unprescribed) heroin continues to accelerate.

GEOFF PAGE, Narrabundah

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