Pubdate: Mon, 31 Aug 1998
Source: Canberra Times (Australia)


PETER TRICKETT (Letters, 26 August) is partly right when he says education
is important in reducing drug-related problems, but he is totally wrong in
his criticism of the safe injecting facilities with his tired old cliche of
the ambulance at the bottom of the hill.

A safe injecting facility is in reality an ambulance at the top of the
hill. It provides a facility that can contribute significantly to the
health and wellbeing of those who are currently injecting drugs and a
facility where they can receive both medical attention and counselling.
Such a facility not only means the difference between life and death for
the user but also a chance for a better life outcome.

Education is all very well as a partial preventive measure, but it is not
the only measure. There are other factors in society, such as unemployment,
homelessness, illness, poverty and the greed that arises from the enormous
profits from trading illicit drugs that need to be addressed in any
prevention strategy. But does Peter Trickett not see that good access to
medical and other care and services is the best safety net for reducing the
damage for those already addicted?

If Peter Trickett does not care about the health of these human beings then
perhaps he should care that a safe injecting facility will protect the
general community by contributing to the reduction of the transmission of
blood-borne diseases and discarded syringes.

BRIAN McCONNELL President, Families and Friends for Drug Law Reform

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