Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Heroin in The Age

Yesterday The Age ran a number of articles about Afghanistan's heroin industry and the recent increase of heroin on Melbourne's streets:

Hammer horror - the curse of the streets returns
MELBOURNE is set to be caught up in an international tidal wave of high-purity Afghan heroin flooding world markets — with local addicts confirming the more lethal drug is already available on the city's streets.
The potential influx of Afghan heroin — produced from record opium crops flourishing in regions under Taliban rule — has sparked fears that Melbourne could once again become a destination for cheap, high-purity heroin as it was in the late 1990s.

A scourge woven into the fabric of Afghanistan
THE opium poppy symbolises the complexities and dilemmas confronting Afghanistan and its allies.
There are no easy answers in dealing with the crop that has made Afghanistan the world's largest opium producer, supplying 93 per cent of the illegal opium trade.
Opium cultivation accounts for 60 per cent of the Afghan economy and 90 per cent of its exports. More than three million people, 14 per cent of the population of 23 million, depend on it for their income.

Nothing but hits and memories
We cannot allow a repeat of the late '90s heroin scourge
Tragically, smack is coming back and drug experts such as Nick Crofts, from the Turning Point centre in Fitzroy, say we need to do some serious thinking about our treatment service. It is, he says, inadequate and struggling to cope with existing demand, let alone with what is yet to come. Says Dr Crofts: "We are working in a policy environment where the previous premier (Steve Bracks) said very clearly heroin is gone and the only problem we have now is amphetamines. Which is utterly wrong. State Government support for both medical treatment for people with addictions and the pharmaco-therapy program is pathetic."
A few days back it also mentioned Family First senator Steve Fielding's rebuke of the Labor Party for considering giving the Greens preferences, because of the Greens' harm minimisation policies:
'Outrage' at Greens preference deal
"It is absolutely outrageous to think that Kevin Rudd would want to preference the Greens, knowing their stance on drugs, free injecting rooms in streets, free heroin," Senator Fielding told ABC television...
...Senator Brown responded that the Greens' policies on drugs were for harm minimisation.
"Free heroin on the streets - that's absolutely wrong," he said.
"I'm a doctor. I hate drug addiction.
"But we've got to have sensible policies to meet it and we will make sensible policies."
(You can read the Greens' drug policy here.)

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