April 19th 2003

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Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY: Iraq: winning the peace

CANBERRA OBSERVED: Foreign debt binge threatens economy

Ethanol a solution to air pollution caused lung cancers

Wider focus needed on Murray Darling water controversy

ENVIRONMENT: Federal bushfire inquiry's challenge

TRADE: Safeguarding our $800m wheat contracts

STRAWS IN THE WIND: Why shouldn't everyone have the bomb? / Strategic history / North Korean blackmail

MEDIA: Journalism becomes a commodity

LETTERS: Nationals misrepresented (letter)

BOOKS: Globalization and its Discontents, by Joseph Stiglitz

EDUCATION: Iraq: the view in the classroom

DRUGS: United Nations body slams Sydney injecting room

BOOKS: The Marriage Problem: How our Culture has Weakened Families, by James Q. Wilson

BOOKS: Tolkien's Christianity: J.R.R. Tolkien's Sanctifying Myth, by Bradley J. Birzer

FILM REVIEW: Ned Kelly (2003)

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United Nations body slams Sydney injecting room

by David Perrin

News Weekly, April 19, 2003
The International Narcotics Control Board, which is associated with the United Nations, has criticised the New South Wales Government for its injecting rooms in Kings Cross in Sydney.

The criticism, contained in its latest annual report, stems from a belief that the injecting room is a step towards legalisation of drugs.

This is the second year in succession that the Board has used its annual report to criticise Sydney's injecting room.

The International Narcotics Control Board oversees the international conventions on narcotic drugs. The Board is a world leader in fighting illicit drugs.

The conventions are based on the collective experiences of countries that have been badly affected by narcotics over hundreds of years.


The Kings Cross injecting room, where addicts inject or consume illicit drugs, not only promotes tolerance of illicit drug use, but also promotes trafficking and undermines the international efforts of international police agencies.

All narcotics used by the addicts at Kings Cross come from the international criminal drug cartels, so criminals are the major beneficiaries, raking in millions of dollars.

The NSW Government is aiding and abetting these criminals by giving them a legal market for their narcotics.

The Board's annual report claims, "Any national, state or local authority that permits the establishment and operation of such injecting room ... also facilitates illicit drug trafficking."

The Board reminded the New South Wales Government that it is in breach of the 1988 UN Convention Against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances.

This convention requires states like New South Wales to establish, as criminal offences, possession and purchase of narcotics for personal consumption.

Instead, the Government facilitates the maintenance of addicts on drugs and encourages the expansion of the use of narcotics that are known to kill, maim and reduce the life expectancy of users.

Instead of receiving help from Government, addicted narcotic users are finding the government facilitating their demise.

Claims that injecting rooms have saved lives are nonsense.

The Kings Cross injecting room had 88 drug overdoses in its first six months operation, which is five times higher than similar centres overseas.

A narcotic overdose is a death experience that can be reversed with a timely medical intervention to prevent the death of the user.

The injecting room operator's illogical argument is: "We help you to consume dangerous narcotics. When you overdose and are about to die, we get you a doctor to save you from death."

Other countries have shown that they can reduce the number of illicit drug users and greatly limit drug overdoses and deaths.


The New South Wales Government must use its courts to divert addicts into detoxification and then rehabilitation to a drug free life. It must then also use its courts to close down the supply of illicit drugs from international criminals and not facilitate the drug cartels.

Detoxification and rehabilitation has many benefits and is strongly supported by the wider community that does not want an increasing number of its citizens to use illicit substances or to remain drug dependant.

Also, rehabilitated drug users can get on with rebuilding their lives free of the drugs that imprisoned and controlled them by putting something back into the community rather than be a burden.

Money for the operation of the Kings Cross injecting room should be diverted to rehabilitation.

Sydney's injecting room is the modern day equivalent of the opium dens of old.

A full copy of the Board's report is available at www.incb.org

  • David Perrin is the National President of the Australian Family Association

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