Pubdate: Wed, 18 Aug 1999
Source: West Australian (Australia)
Fax: +61 8 94823830
Author: Alex Wodak


IT IS sad that Rhonda Parker, the minister responsible for WAs drug abuse
strategy, said that the distinguished European researcher, Professor Ambros
Uchtenhagen, confessed privately to her that he was under pressure to
produce results.

This has been rejected by the professor. Will Mrs Parker stop at nothing
while she tries to hold up an important Australian scientific evaluation of
prescription heroin?

When this research does finally go ahead in Australia, prescription heroin
could save lives, reduce crime, attract reluctant heroin users into
treatment and also save scarce resources.

We will never know whether prescription heroin works until we try. If we
find it does not work in Australia, then we know that we have to keep on
trying to find other effective ways of reducing the toll from heroin
injecting in this country.

If prescription heroin works, we can add it to the list of treatments
(including abstinence treatments) but reserve it for people where every
other treatment has been tried and has not worked.

Dr ALEX WODAX, president, Australian Drug Law Reform Foundation,
Darlinghurst, NSW.

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