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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 11 Hansard (19 October) . . Page.. 3258 ..

MS CARNELL (continuing):

We are proud of the approach we have taken. It is broad. One of the most important things for our Government in this area is something that we are wedded to make a difference on. Every single one of us believes that this is a major, major issue in our society and that it is absolutely essential. As we say in our mission statement at the beginning, Mr Speaker, the ACT Government will, in partnership with stakeholders, adopt a compassionate and caring approach to reducing the impact of drug use in our community through reducing the supply of drugs, the demand for drugs, and the harm caused by drugs. The central element of this mission is to do what works best, based upon informed knowledge of the problems with respect to each of these goals and on evidence of best practice locally, interstate and overseas. I could not summarise the whole drug strategy better than in that mission statement.

I would like to finish by reading a letter, which shows the approach that this Government is taking and the fact that it is working. Many members may remember a number of months ago, I think it was Mr Osborne asked me a question about methadone availability, about a particular person who was having problems accessing our methadone program. This morning I got a letter - and I obviously will leave out the names involved - which says:

Dear Ms Carnell

I thought that I would write to you with a good news story since, like most of us, you probably only hear about things that go wrong.

I wrote last on 30 March about my son who had a heroin habit and was unable to get a firm date for his entry into the methadone program.

My son was admitted to the methadone program on 19 April. In the interim between my writing to you and his entry into the program he was buying -

and this is a real concern, Mr Speaker -

20 mls of methadone each day on the black market. While I did not condone this, it was a better and much cheaper, solution than buying heroin.

When he entered the program, my son's methadone dose was steadily increased to 40 mls per day. He remained at this level for three months. His general health and demeanour improved and he has coped well with his studies. He also managed to find some part-time work and has been very co-operative and helpful at home.

After three months, he decided that he would reduce his dose. He gradually reduced it, first by 5 mls per day, and then by 2.5 mls per day. Currently, he is taking 12.5 mls per day. He has passed all the

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