Saturday, 27 September 2008

More Drug War Casualties in Australia

According to the Sunday Herald, Melbourne is now losing a war against heroin because of the rising number of heroin users in lock-ups . What is really happening is that more addicts are desperately trying to deal with massive pain and suffering, committing crime to pay for their drugs and are then being jailed for it. Heroin addiction requires large amounts of money because of current prohibition type policies but the law based on these policies seem to overlook exactly what addiction is. Tough laws might deter some criminals for some crimes but the very nature of addiction makes these laws pointless. You need to be rational at the time of committing a crime to understand the deterrence but addiction overrides this rationality ... that’s what addiction is. Why can’t this simple concept be understood?

Melbourne City Losing War Against HeroinSunday Herald Laurie Nowell September 2008 VICTORIA'S illicit drugs crisis is worsening, with a study finding Melbourne is the nation's new drug capital. The research, comparing key police lock-ups across the country, found more than half those detained in Footscray were heroin users. The Australian Institute of Criminology study found the next highest rate of heroin use was 15 per cent at Brisbane central, then 12 per cent at Parramatta and Adelaide. The study also found more than 73 per cent of detainees at Footscray tested positive to an illicit drug - mostly heroin or benzodiazepines (tranquillisers). All those arrested for robbery, car theft, possession of drugs or as a result of a warrant tested positive to illegal drugs. And 80 per cent of those arrested for selling drugs were users. Half of violent offenders tested positive for drugs - 38 per cent to heroin - and half of drink drivers also tested positive to illegal drugs. The study found drug use among Footscray detainees had increased more than 12 per cent in the past year. Youth worker Les Twentyman said many parts of Melbourne were "awash with heroin". "It's back with a vengeance," he said. "We haven't seen so much on the streets since the late 1990s, when we were seeing more than 300 lethal overdoses each year. "Footscray, the CBD and Fitzroy, Dandenong, Frankston, Richmond, Collingwood, St Albans have all become beats again where users are going to score." An institute of criminology spokeswoman said the study would continue over four years. "The Footscray figures obviously show that heroin is becoming available again," she said. The Sunday Herald Sun revealed last month soaring use of heroin, amphetamines and cannabis in Victoria.


Susan from Footscray said...

Is there anything mentioned about how over policed Footscray is? I am 47, I live in the area and I always see Police targeting people who look like they could be a dealer or under the influence. Why are police doing this instead of nurses or therapists or social workers?

I have also seen the Police using sniffer dogs on a number of different occassions. The police usually wait with the sniffer dogs outside of the train station so everyone exiting the train must pass them. Do you know if this happens in other suburbs?

I personally have no association with drugs, but it is still very disheartening to see people who are obviously very vulnerable being kicked while they are down. I do not understand the logic behind it. I think it is bullying and nasty.

The hardest thing about living in Footscray is not the drugs or the users or the dealers. It is the police activity, negative media reports, judgments from others and lack of supportive care being provided to vulnerable people that upset me the most.

Anonymous said...

Drug users made a free-will choice to begin using drugs in the first place.

They deserve our contempt.

We need to apply social darwinism - let them die.

I am fed up with my tax-payers dollars being used to help social outcasts.

Let me make myself clear. I do not want to be involved in helping these miserable people.

I hate drug addicts with a vengenance.

Anonymous said...

the biggest problem with this news story is that the number of people in Footscray was much smaller than in all the other areas surveyed - everyone can read this report if they want to:

the police do over-service Footscray and it is no big surprise that almost 3/4 of the 77 people they interviewed had some illicit drug on board

Paul from Footscray said...

I am also from Footscray and I am also a non drug user. Good on you Susan for representing the area so well. I have noticed that there are so many open minded residents in Footscray who prefer to understand than simply judge. It is a great community where we value human life. I wish more of my taxed income went on the people who need it the most.

Terry Wright said...

Thanks for your comments.

It is encouraging to see Footscray residents who are not drug users, being able to see through the media hype and showing compassion.

You are the type of people that give hope to overcoming the major problem of drug addiction. We need more like you.

A big thank you from all us addicts.

epicene said...

Ok, I get it you like using smack but don't give us that self obsessed justification that addiction/withdrawal is so world shattering. Big deal, it's unpleasant but so are many aspects of life not chosen by shoving a spike into a vein for many weks before finally acquiring a habit.
I have no problem with hedonism, in any form, as long as it doesn't adversely affect me. Junkies do, by raising my insurances premiums. Granted it is the insanity of the drug laws that cause the high price but you knew that when you had your first taste but still persisted. Enjoy by all means, but stop whining

Anonymous said...

No drug, not even alcohol, causes the fundamental ills of society. If we're looking for the source of our troubles, we shouldn't test people for drugs, we should test them for stupidity, ignorance, greed and love of power.
P.J. O'Rourke

epicene said...

I'd love to see the original Repug Reptile's take on the current financial crisis - like most rabib rightwingers, he was a failed left winger.

Anonymous said...

Terry - is it possible for you to post some research on the financial costs of prohibition? I am sure much of our tax payers money goes towards enforcing the laws.

There is a massive moral difference between those who place a higher value on other human life and those who place a higher value on their personal income. How can we ever see eye to eye with such contrasting judgments?

Terry Wright said...

Thanks Anon.

Australia 2006 - money spent on illicit drugs:

Law enforcement - 56%
Prevention strategies - 23%
Treatment - 17%
Harm reduction 3%
Other - 1%

Note that most Zero Tolerance proponents who tell us that Harm Minimisation isn't working say we spend too much money and resources on harm reduction. Yep, 3% is too much for them to keep users safe. Pffft.