Funding injecting rooms confuses drugs message
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are bad enough but the problem with ice is the violence it induces, which is why the Victorian Police Association have withdrawn their support.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?