offer heroin in rehab plan
The Age (Au),
July 18, 2006
HEROIN would be
imported into Australia and prescribed to
long-time addicts, while criminal penalties would
be abolished for illicit drug users under the
Victorian Greens' drugs policy.
In a policy that
the party said was focused on minimising harm,
medically supervised heroin injecting rooms would
also be tested across the state in a bid to help
reform drug addicts.
Under the proposal,
the Victorian Drugs Policy Research Institute
would be established to evaluate the trial of
injecting rooms and the prescription of clinically
produced heroin to addicts. It would also take on
a broader role in evaluating drugs policy and
compiling research into the effects of drug use
Greens drugs policy
spokeswoman Colleen Hartland said current methods
of treating drug addiction were not working and
more research was needed into what other
jurisdictions were doing to ease the problem.
"You don't have to
reinvent the wheel, you look at what's worked
(elsewhere) and you apply those principles," she
Ms Hartland, the
Greens candidate for the upper house seat of
Western Metropolitan, said she expected a trial of
the benefits of prescribed heroin would need to
run for about two years and involve a small sample
"It is not
legalising heroin," she said.
"What you are
saying is that there are certain people that may
need to have heroin prescribed, and it is a trial
to see how it would work."
Ms Hartland said
heroin injecting rooms in Victoria would be
similar to the one in Sydney's Kings Cross and
would not go ahead in an area unless it had
sufficient community support.
using illicit drugs such as marijuana, ecstasy and
speed would be spared a jail term and instead face
sanctions, such as counselling and rehabilitation
Richard Di Natale,
the Greens' health adviser, said people not
attending counselling would be fined. Jail was a
Dr Di Natale said
that, while the system would attempt to
rehabilitate drug users, their suppliers would
face harsher penalties.
"Let's make it also
clear that the sale and trafficking of all illicit
drugs will continue to (carry) criminal
penalties," he said.
Bracks rejected the Greens' proposal to scrap
criminal sanctions for drug use, but stopped short
of saying it would prevent Labor from exchanging
preferences with the minor party at the November
He said it was
important that laws deterred young people from
spokeswoman Helen Shardey said the Liberals
supported neither prescribing heroin nor injecting
rooms. But, she said, measures were needed to help
people get off drugs.
"We need good
programs for detoxification and, if necessary, the
use of drugs like methadone so people can reclaim
their lives and come off (heroin)," she said. "We
think injecting rooms would have a 'honey pot'
effect of encouraging far more usage. The other
question, of course, is where do the Greens think
they are going to get heroin from to prescribe?
Are they going to go and buy it on the blackmarket?"
With PAUL AUSTIN