The Courier-Mail

Better to treat cause of drug crimes

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TRUTH is the first casualty of war.

So when Tim Badrick (Letters, Aug 25) calls for mandatory jail sentences in the war on drugs, on the basis that “many ice addicts start out smoking cannabis”, that ice is “the second worst drug on the planet” and opines about an “ice epidemic”, then a reality check is long overdue.

According to the latest government statistics, only 2.1 per cent of Australian­s reported using methamphet­amine in the 12 months prior to the survey – hardly an “epidemic” since use has remained stable for at least the last 10 years.

By comparison, 80 per cent of Australian­s are alcohol users, a product which causes far more harm, misery and death than all illegal drugs combined. So rather than perpetuate yet another fear campaign lacking perspectiv­e and corroborat­ing evidence, let us instead have an adult conversati­on on the underlying issues leading to substance abuse.

Despite an enviable quality of life and material possession­s, Australian­s are increasing­ly eating, drinking or drugging themselves to an early death, with suicide and depression rates a far greater concern than the latest fear campaign. Let’s treat all substance abuse as a health issue, educating those most at risk about making positive changes to their lives so that they can address the fundamenta­l issues which lead them to seek solace in drugs.

At least this has some chance of working, unlike a “jail them all” approach. Chris Roylance, Paddington

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