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7 Comments

  1. 1

    Jess Pearson

    I disagree with the whole idea of allowing people, teenagers, to do illegal drugs!

    As stated above, “200 people a day inject harmful drugs into themselves,” this should not be allowed, let alone advertised for Australian teenages to be exposed to.

    Even if there are ‘community benifits’ involved in this centre, where are the ethics behind allowing drug addicts a safe place to ‘get a hit’ ?

    The tiny snippet of information indicates that lives are saved through this centre. It touch not touch on any of the other consequences involved.
    As a teenager myself, one of the aspects that stops me and many others from using drugs is the fear and real life danger of dying.
    Taking this fear and unknown area away from drug use will encourage more young Australians to ‘try it’.

    Setting up centres such as the one mentioned is a costly process.
    If this is a NSW government decision, does that mean our tax payers money is being used?

    I can see it from the other view that this centre is saving peoples lives and that is a noteworthy achievment.
    Overall I do see if from both sides of the story but I must put forward the oposing opinion that I am sure many people agree with.

    It is a fine line that is being crossed.

    Reply
  2. 2

    Terry Wright

    Now we just have to wait for those looney wingnut opinion writers to start telling us why MSIC is going to degrade the value of mankind and send society into a tailspin of evil and descent.

    Also, be on the watch for Drug Free Australia (DFA) as they try to convince us that the dozens of scientific studies are wrong and they have a report that proves MSIC doesn’t work. Of course they a lot about science because their patron is a TV Evangelist who performs faith healing on stage and their members include links to scientology, The Festival of Light and other fundamentalist organisations who think the earth is 6,000 years old.

    The permanent approval of MSIC is a tick for evidence based policies.

    Reply
  3. 3
    Melissa Sweet

    Melissa Sweet

    Dr Alex Wodak asked Croakey to post this response to Jess on his behalf:

    Dear Jess,

    The dilemma is distinguishing between what might be desirable from what is actually achievable. Stopping teenagers from taking drugs might be desirable. But half a century of trying to do that has not just failed, but often made a bad problem even worse. We often discover that the unintended negative consequences of failing to achieve what we set out to do and not getting there are horrendous.

    So how would you actually stop young people from using illegal drugs when no-one has managed to achieve that objective?

    And if there are 200 injections a day in the MSIC and you close the centre, how do you feel about those 200 injections now happening in street, lanes, alleys, supermarkets, parks and toliets?

    Especially given the inevitability that some of these young people whose lives would have been saved in the MSIC are now going to die when they instead inject in public places.

    How do you feel about the ethics of this if one of those young people who is now going to die was a loved one?

    During the period that the MSIC has been operating, injecting drug use in Australia has actually been declining.

    It could be that the MSIC is such a potent reminder of the risks of injecting drug use that some young people are put off experimenting?

    We just don’t know.

    You are concerned about the costs of the MSIC – that’s a fair question.

    But the MSIC saves more money than it costs to run.

    The MSIC is in the middle of the most densely populated part of Australia.

    78% of residents support it.

    Don’t they have a right to walk around their neighbourhood without stepping over dead bodies and seeing people shooting up in public places?

    It’s not a fine line – it’s a great big fat line.

    Evidence and compassion on one side.

    Fear and loathing on the other side.

    Dr Alex Wodak.

    Reply
  4. 4
    Melissa Sweet

    Melissa Sweet

    Michael Moore, CEO of the Public Health Association of Australia, has asked Croakey to post this response to Jess on his behalf:

    Jess Pearson disagrees with the whole idea of allowing people, teenagers, to do illegal drugs!

    Actually, Jess, those of us who advocate for a supervised injecting room and even to trial provision of pharmaceutical heroin and other injecting drugs at the same time would love to see no one using such drugs. The thinking behind all harm minimisation policies is multi-layered.

    Since the prohibition of drugs such as heroin has been pushed from the 1950s onward, particularly by the United States, there has not been a reduction in drug use. There has been a rapid increase.

    As it seems a huge task to challenge the whole concept of prohibition despite its clear abysmal failure to achieve its goals, policy makers in Australia and other places have sought to find alternative solutions.

    As we cannot obtain what we believe is the best solution, we look for the “least worst” solution. There is no evidence that availability of clean needles or an injecting facility increases or encourages drug use any more than availability of condoms encourages young people to have sex.

    In both cases the availability of appropriate devices simply protects those who make these decisions from dire consequences of their actions. Very few people would argue that the poor choice by these people should be ‘punished’ by a shortening of their life or a devastating medical outcome.

    Even for a hardline economic rationalist, as far as our role in spending taxpayers’ money on the provision of devices or facilities goes – it is simply a long term investment. There is no doubt that treating people for HIV/AIDS or Hepatitis for example will be much, much more costly to the taxpayer than the cost of running a supervised injecting facility.

    What is really unfortunate is that in 1997 when the Ministerial Council on Drug Strategy approved a scientific trial of a Medically Supervised Injecting Facility that also provided the heroin it was stopped on the personal whim of John Howard.

    Until such an approach is tried we will not know the extent to which such an approach will improve the health of individuals, reduce the spread of disease in the community and possibly undermine the pyramid sales system that is engendered by prohibition and the black market.

    In spite of the folly of the Howard decision for Australia we do have some knowledge as such facilities are run in about a dozen countries worldwide – including the conservative Switzerland that has been doing so for a decade and a half. A referendum in that country has supported having them continue.

    The people understand that sometimes when our policies cannot achieve everything that we want, we need to have a backup plan that will deliver the really critical things – like saving the lives of individuals and stopping the spread of disease into the broader community.

    Michael Moore
    CEO Public Health Association of Australia

    Reply
  5. 5

    Jess Pearson

    “78% of residents support it.” (the MSIC)

    I am representing the 22% of people who do not support it.

    That’s what these public blog sites are for; people to express their opinions and ideas.

    We may not be the majority, but I believe that I have a vaild opinion.
    These centres, although they do have great statistics, have negative side effects.

    Reply
  6. 6

    Terry Wright

    “That’s what these public blog sites are for; people to express their opinions and ideas.
    We may not be the majority, but I believe that I have a vaild opinion”

    There’s a big difference between having an opinion (based on some dubious “ethical” assertions and misinformation) and the evidence/facts put forward by medical experts.

    Reply

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