Pubdate: Mon, 21 Jun 1999
Source: Canberra Times (Australia)
Author: David Rennie


Peter Trickett (Letters, CT 16 June) claims that a Swiss heroin trial failed
because only 5 per cent of drug users were abstaining after three years. He
doesn't provide comparative figures for the hugely expensive prohibitionist
policies he advocates.

His argument that a primary aim of heroin trials is the reduction of drug
use by existing users is fallacious.

The primary aim of drug trials is to reduce the social harm caused by
illegal drug use.

Drug trials seek to achieve this by:

a. undercutting the profits of drug importers by providing heroin at an
economically realistic price;

b. eliminating the promotion of drug use by addicts seeking to find a way of
funding their unnecessarily expensive habit;

c. eliminating the health consequences of addicts' acquiring impure products
that are significantly different from those they are expecting;

d. eliminating the tremendous social costs of the high crime rate, police
enforcement and penitentiary activities consequent on attempting to enforce
the existing prohibitionist policy;

e. eliminating the corruption that is endemic when attempting to enforce the
current laws.

I believe that the time has come for the advocates of prohibition to be
required to provide some evidence in support of their policies, which appear
to have consistently failed. It is the supporters of the existing policy who
should be required to demonstrate their success. They are the ones who have
no evidence of success. Unless they can show that their policies are
achieving success in the fight against drug abuse, why should the rest of
society be forced to pay financially and socially for their failure.

I want successful policies, I am happy to pay for them, I am not prepared to
keep paying for the failure that is prohibition.

David Rennie, Torrens

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