Heroin Legislation

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The Heroin War: Why We Must Change our Battle Plan If a single reason can be given to illustrate the urgent need for reform of the current Australian drug policy it is this; that the prohibition strategy is simply not working. The toll from heroin deaths in Victoria has risen 73 percent over the last ten years, addiction and overdose rates are soaring and the price of heroin is declining. The Federal Government is applauding the ‘zero-tolerance’ regime. The Prime Minister displays the seizure of large amounts of the drug and apprehension of suppliers as proof that the law is working, while the obvious truth is illustrated on our streets. No matter how ‘tough on drugs’ the government becomes they will never eliminate their presence in society. This is clear from the failure of the approach in other nations. For example the US carries out a drug associated arrest every 20 seconds, with no signs of any decline. All that prohibition succeeds in achieving is turning the drug trade into an illegal, dark and murky black market affair. We must now ask the question, are we going to stand staunch in policies which have proved to be unsuccessful or are we going to take a brave leap into a more hopeful future? There is great fear reverberating through the community; fear of stepping into a more open and frightening, yet decidedly more promising way of tackling the issue. Reform does not mean, as opposers argue, condoning the use of drugs. It means accepting that drugs are part, admittedly an unfortunate part, of our society which will not simply ‘go away’. The refreshingly new ideas of controlled heroin trials, legal injecting rooms and greater availability of clean needles should be given consideration. Lightening of the law would bring drug use out of the shadows it has long inhabited, removing the violence, criminality and risk which go hand in hand with the current drug trade. It is argued that any easing of drug laws would reduce the cost, and increase the availability of street heroin, but if pure, safer heroin is prescribed under clinical conditions, will this not reduce the desire for heroin on the street? Casting light into the alleyways will surely lessen the sinister nature of the black trade. Addicts would not have to turn to crime to finance their habit and dealers would not have the violent hold over those they supply.

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