COMMENT: by David PerrinNews Weekly
The war against drugs is not lost it was never started
, March 25, 2000
David Perrin, was a member of the Victorian Legislative Assembly between 1985 and 1999, during which time he was involved in drug policy formulation and is now a National Vice-President of the Australian Family Association. He looks at the misguided thinking behind the push for heroin injecting rooms.
By David Perrin, who was a member of the Victorian Legislative Assembly between 1985 and 1999, during which time he was involved in drug policy formulation;
David Perrin is now a National Vice-President of the Australian Family Association. He looks at the misguided thinking behind the push for heroin injecting rooms.
Claims that the war against drugs has been lost and all we can do is to help those who are addicted is not true.
For the last 15 years in Australia politicians, academics, health professionals and a whole industry of drug "experts" have surrendered to a policy of drug use normalisation, use tolerance, "safe" use and easier access to mind-altering drugs.
As a consequence, drug usage has grown to be amongst the highest in the world.
In Victoria the ALP Bracks Government's "expert" committee chaired by Professor David Penington, has claimed that in 1998 almost 1% of Victorians over 14 years of age had used heroin within the past 12 months compared with 0.2% in 1995, which is a five-fold increase in just three years.
This same paper issued in February 2000 claimed:
"The problem won't go away. We cannot stop the drug supply."
A surrender, if ever there was one.
The "expert" paper produced a graph which showed heroin-related deaths in Victoria had increased from 49 in 1991 to 359 in 1999 and deaths were expected to escalate to 496 in 2005.
These statistics prove that the soft policies on drugs adopted over the last 15 years have been an abject failure.
An incredible exercise in political double-speak appeared in the "expert" paper with the claims that "Victoria is regarded as a leader in drug policy", a claim which will be hotly contested, given the statistics quoted above and the further claim in the "expert" paper that "despite our efforts, the problem has become considerably worse in recent years. It will continue to get worse."
What must be realised is that the problem has got worse precisely because of past policies by governments of all political persuasions adopting these soft drug policies.
If these drug policy experts, who have been in charge of drug policy, had been in private industry or the defence forces with these deplorable outcomes, they would have been sacked long ago.
Instead they are now being asked by the Bracks ALP Government to deliver more of the same.
The $17 million to $20 million the Bracks Government has set aside for the heroin injecting rooms is urgently needed in drug detoxification and rehabilitation to get addicts drug free and back to a normal lifestyle.
In fact, Victoria's leading newspaper the Herald Sun is now calling for compulsory detoxification and rehabilitation for drug addicts - a call which the Bracks Government is ignoring.
The Swedish Government has had a policy of court ordered detoxification and rehabilitation for addicts for many years, which, together with other drug initiatives, has led to drug usage and drug addiction rates six times lower than Australia's.
The Swedes have a policy objective of a drug free society, a policy objective which is specifically rejected by the "experts" being used by the Bracks ALP Government.
In Victoria, a new coalition of community groups has been formed called Community Coalition For A Drug Free Society, comprising family, religious, community and other organisations.
This coalition will focus on supporting policies similar to that of Sweden, which have proven track records in reducing the toll from mind-altering drugs rather than surrendering to the soft culture, and ever-increasing number of drug addict victims and other social costs.