Pubdate: Fri, 09 Mar 2001
Source: Sydney Morning Herald (Australia)
Copyright: 2001 The Sydney Morning Herald
Contact:  GPO Box 3771, Sydney NSW 2001
Fax: 61-(0)2-9282 3492
Author: Annie Madden


The article "Losing a war: heroin more plentiful, cheaper, purer than ever" 
(Herald, March 7) tells only one side of the illicit-drugs story.

Since research for the Bureau of Criminal Intelligence report was 
conducted, the situation has changed dramatically. Wildly fluctuating 
supplies and quality have meant that the whole of Australia is in the grip 
of a heroin "drought". This simply serves to highlight how little impact 
the current law enforcement approach has on the supply of heroin.

And far from being a good thing, the drought has led to extreme levels of 
desperation. Higher prices for poorer-quality drugs means more crime and 
more violence. When the supply returns, heroin-related overdose rates will 
be higher than ever before.

The drought has also highlighted the chronic shortage of treatment places 
in Australia. Surely it is time to expand the methadone and other treatment 
programs and begin trial heroin programs.

The "war on drugs" has not worked. Regulation, not prohibition, of heroin 
is the way to permanently break the global black market in heroin and its 

Annie Madden, Australian IV League, Sydney, March 7.
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