Pubdate: Wed, 28 Jun 2000
Source: Geelong Advertiser, The (Australia)
Contact:  191-195 Ryrie Street, Geelong 3220, Victoria, Australia
Fax: 61 03 52274330
Author: Bill Stronach, chief executive, Australian Drug Foundation


IT is most unfortunate that Mr Hinch chooses to be emotive and accusatory 
in responding to the proposed trial of supervised injecting places.

To suggest that those with different opinions to Mr Hinch's are insensitive 
to the needs of the victims is also divisive - particularly to a community 
which must work together to seek better solutions to a difficult problem.

I share Mr Hinch's concern and compassion for the victims of drug misuse - 
the families, victims of crime and the like.  But we must have compassion 
for those who are addicted to drugs.

Let us never forget that junkies (to use Mr Hinch's terminology) are 
"everybody's children."  Legal and illegal drug use knows no boundaries. 
The problems and tragedies affect people from all classes, all areas, most 
ages, both sexes.  The research confirms this.

As a community we all have a responsibility to protect ourselves, our 
children and other people.  We need a whole range of strategies that will 
make our communities safer.  Treatment programs help, education programs 
have a key lace and law enforcement has a major role to play.

Much is being done here and much still needs to be done.  But these 
strategies take time to work.

An evaluated trial of supervised injecting places will let us know if these 
facilities can help us create a safer place for everyone today. Based on 
research from overseas, the forecast looks good.

These facilities contribute to safer public spaces in those areas currently 
blighted by evidence of drug use - they mean fewer discarded needles and 
fewer disturbing "drug scenes".  Secondly, they have the potential to save 
the lives of drug users.

These people - everybody's children - are just as worthy of our attention 
as the drunk driver, who harms themselves or the person with emphysema that 
has been self-inflicted through smoking.

I respect those who have different opinions about the best way to address 
the problem.  I believe most people are seeking their own solutions to a 
complex problem.  It is, however, hard to find solace in an emotive 
diatribe with an absence of human compassion.

Bill Stronach, chief executive, Australian Drug Foundation
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