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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 11 Hansard (19 October) . . Page.. 3244 ..

MS TUCKER (continuing):

use of the word "safe". Anyway, the Greens do support these sorts of initiatives, just as we support a heroin trial, but we absolutely must see that there is equal commitment and resourcing to the prevention and treatment aspect of this.

Broader questions are obviously not just for government. They are for the community as a whole to determine why some of our young people are involving themselves in such self-destructive behaviour. There are all sorts of issues there that as a community we need to look at. I will not even start to talk about that today, except to acknowledge that it is also a really important part of this whole discussion.

MR RUGENDYKE (11.27): The first problem I see with this report relates to its title, From Harm to Hope. It should read, "From Harmful to Hopeless". In dealing with the drugs issue we are in a harmful stage. This has been conceded by the fact that we are locked into the so-called harm minimisation strategy. I say this because the strategy does not kick in until the harm has been well and truly done. The strategy is all about maintaining the level of harm and not getting people off their habits. The question must be asked: What hope does this document offer drug users to become drug free?

Mr Speaker, I speak on this subject with a degree of personal and practical experience. When I think of some people I have had contact with over the years who have, or have had, drug problems, I think of Sarah, Bruce, Anna, Michael, Tina, Margaret, Lisa, Ian, Rachel, Amanda, Rebecca, and the list goes on. These are real people who should have been offered a document which includes abstinence as a clear and achievable goal. While there are many positive aspects in this document, it is deficient in that there is no guidance for people who wish to become drug free. It is all about maintaining the habit and there is no recognition of the fact that abstinence is a realistic goal for some people.

For the industry there is no money in a reformed addict. Methadone suppliers would be out of work; needle dispensaries would be out of work, and so on. To endorse this document gives tacit consent to the implementation of shooting galleries and heroin trials. I am not prepared to do this. A shooting gallery does not have sufficient emphasis on getting users clean. It maintains the habit. Supporters of these shooting galleries say that regular contact with health workers in the shooting gallery will give users the opportunity to listen to counselling and advice that may persuade them to change their ways. But they get this sort of assistance now.

The counselling and support groups are provided by organisations such as the Drug Referral and Information Centre right now. Why do we need to duplicate the service? What is new? The people I really feel sorry for are honest Canberra taxpayers footing the bill for this. Not once but twice. They are the ones who would be funding this thing. They are being asked to pay for a shooting gallery that maintains the habit; then they are the ones that get their houses broken into and possessions stolen so that drug users can pay for their heroin habit. Mr Speaker, I looked to this document to try to find solutions to the problems associated with dual diagnosis.

It provides a sorry history. It recognises the inability for drug and alcohol and mental health personnel to cooperate for the benefit of their clients. But what solutions does it offer? I worry when I read the segment regarding people in custody and the harm minimisation strategy to be offered to prisoners. I would hope that the ACT's best

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