Pubdate: Friday 16th July. 
Source: Sydney Morning Herald (Australia)
Author: Dr Raymond Seidler


Dear Editor:

General Barry McCaffrey, the US drug policy director, has an unenlightened
attitude to heroin use (Herald, July 14). His view that addicts feel no
emotions and do not love their families is just not true.

The grind of amassing money to support a heroin habit depresses and depletes
the entire reserve of an addict, both physical and emotional. It alienates a
user from family but surprisingly does not extinguish love.

Witness the parents of drug users plastering poles with posters of their
lost children and the tears of a young user when relating lost opportunities
for family life.

It is true that many users take heroin to deaden emotional pain but they are
far from emotionless. If anything they are on an psychological
roller-coaster - up one minute and suicidal the next.

And as for marijuana being a gateway drug, well you might as well implicate
Coca-Cola or Vegemite. There is no gateway to drug use. The smorgasbord is
wide open.

For Mr Howard to take advice from a man whose life is predicated on a war on
drugs, which has patently failed and is costing the US taxpayers $17 billion
this year is not rational.

Dr Raymond Seidler, Kings Cross. 

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