Pubdate: Wed, 28 Jun 2000
Source: Geelong Advertiser (Australia)
Copyright: 2000 The Geelong Advertiser Pty Ltd.
Contact:  191-195 Ryrie Street, Geelong 3220, Victoria, Australia
Fax: 61 03 52274330
Author: Karen Valentine


Before Mr Hinch accuses anyone of lying, I think it's important we
know whether he is coming from a position of information or
sensationalism. Based on his statements regarding injecting
facilities, I would think that he either hasn't done his homework and
read the current research, or he has paid it scant attention.

If Mr Hinch had read the Drug Policy Expert Committee Report, he would
know the purpose of this strategy is to help deal with the open street
trade - a trade which is particularly concentrated in those five
municipalities which have been identified as potential sites.

Therefore, it may be inappropriate to place injecting facilities in
regional centres where there is a less concentrated street drug trade.

If Mr Hinch had read the report, he would also know the injecting
rooms are not being forced on the people of Melbourne, but are the
subject of intense local community consultation.

If he'd properly read the VicHealth Community Attitudes Survey, which
found 64 per cent of residents in those areas earmarked for injecting
rooms supported the strategy, he would realise his attempt to
undermine this research is seriously flawed.

The VicHealth survey used proper research methodologies, including a
large research population and stratified sampling. I would suggest
respondents to Mr Hinch's Internet site are not nearly as

Drug policy issues must be decided on the basis of informed opinion
and research.  While I am saddened by Mr Hinch's clear lack of
compassion for those affected by drug abuse, I respect that everyone
is entitled to their opinion.

However, I do think that this opinion should at the very least be made
from an informed position.

Kew, Victoria
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MAP posted-by: Derek