Fund­ing in­ject­ing rooms con­fuses drugs mes­sage

The Sunday Mail (Queensland) - - NEWS -

WHILE the WA La­bor Gov­ern­ment an­nounced last week it would lobby COAG to lift the na­tional smok­ing age to 21, and the NSW Lib­eral Gov­ern­ment in­cluded e-cig­a­rettes in the same reg­u­la­tions as cig­a­rettes, Vic­to­ria’s La­bor Gov­ern­ment did a back­flip to al­low ad­dicts to use ice, speed and am­phet­a­mines in their soon-to-be-opened in­ject­ing room.

Orig­i­nally, Premier Daniel An­drews spoke out against in­ject­ing rooms but around the time he was fight­ing the Greens to hold the state seat of North­cote (I could be cyn­i­cal here), he did a back­flip and an­nounced in­ner-city Mel­bourne would join Syd­ney in cre­at­ing a tax­payer-funded place for users to shoot up.

First, Mel­bur­ni­ans were told it would be heroin only, then the An­drews Gov­ern­ment slipped out reg­u­la­tions late on Tues­day that opened it up to all drugs.

Opi­ates are bad enough but the prob­lem with ice is the vi­o­lence it in­duces, which is why the Vic­to­rian Po­lice As­so­ci­a­tion have with­drawn their sup­port.

What’s more, in ad­di­tion to med­i­cal staff, tax­pay­ers will be pay­ing for “in­ject­ing su­per­vi­sors” at the North Rich­mond fa­cil­ity.

The list­ing even wel­comes those with ad­dict ex­pe­ri­ence, stat­ing “ap­pli­cants with lived ex­pe­ri­ence of sub­stance use are en­cour­aged to ap­ply”.

I kid you not. And Vic­to­rian tax- pay­ers will be pay­ing these in­jec­tion su­per­vi­sors a full-time salary of at least $50,000 – more than we pay many young teach­ers, or child­care work­ers or even an en­trylevel nurse.

I doubt the hypocrisy is lost on any­one – tough on le­gal cig­a­rettes yet soft on il­licit drugs.

The deal­ers, of course, will now flock to their new mar­ket­place where they’ll find an in­creas­ing client base. Once they’ve shot up, users will walk free on the streets of Rich­mond.

Any­one who knows any­thing about ice knows well the ag­gres­sion and psy­chosis that of­ten ac­com­pa­nies it.

Dur­ing the Ab­bott gov­ern­ment’s crack­down on ice, a Lib­eral MP told the gov­ern­ment’s task­force about a hor­rific in­ci­dent in­volv­ing a young man in New­cas­tle who, high on the drug, gouged out his eyes and ate them. There have been other sim­i­lar cases overseas.

Not far from Daniel’s new drug den is a pri­mary school and, jus­ti­fi­ably, res­i­dents are up in arms.

Why are we spend­ing bil­lions try­ing to tackle the meth labs and il­le­gal drug im­ports if we’re go­ing to fund places for users to stick a nee­dle in their arm and then wan­der the streets?

What hap­pened to our mes­sage that il­le­gal drugs are danger­ous, ad­dic­tive and could kill you?

Why not fund more re­hab places in­stead?

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