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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 13 Hansard (9 December) . . Page.. 4196 ..

MS CARNELL (continuing):

This is not about just giving this a go because somehow this will be a panacea, because it will not be. This is one of the broad range of treatments that we need to try. One treatment will not suit everybody, as we know, which is the reason why we have a whole-of-government drug strategy on the table to integrate all of our service delivery. A heroin trial is part of it. A heroin treatment program is part of it, as are abstinence programs, as is methadone, as is counselling and as are support mechanisms.

Mr Speaker, I have worked with people with drug problems for most of my professional life. They are our kids, Mr Speaker. They are kids who, in many circumstances, went to good schools and who came from good homes. They are bright and capable and they have a huge amount to offer. As parents, if we have not had a drug problem in our family, we should really thank God that we have been that lucky, because I would have to say that it is not, on the whole, due to good management. In fact, there, by the grace of God, go I. It could happen to any of us as parents. From that perspective, if it ever happens to any of my kids or any of their friends, I would like to think that we have done everything we can to keep them alive until they are ready to handle whatever it might be that is causing them not to be able to deal with their drug problems at the moment.

Earlier somebody made the comment that if people use or inject heroin or narcotics it is just a matter of time until they die; but it is also a matter of time until they grow out of it. We should make sure that the matter of time that happens to our drug addicted kids is the matter of time until they grow out of it, until the treatment program works for them. That is why I am going to support this. I think it is worth a shot. Two years is worth some time. The fairly small amounts of money that this will cost are worth it. We will see once and for all whether it does work, scientifically, with proper evaluation. At the end of that time, if it has not worked, if we have not actually achieved anything, I will be the first one to say, "Look, we were wrong on that one. Let us try something else". If we are right, I hope the people who are opposing this tonight will be equally capable of standing up and saying, "Well, it did work, so let us extend it". Most importantly, Mr Speaker, what we all have to do tonight is respect each other's opinions, and accept that every person who speaks tonight has thought about this issue, has researched this issue, and is speaking from the heart.

MR HARGREAVES (10.23): Unlike some of the other speakers, I do not have a prepared speech on this Bill. I have been listening to the debate down here and while upstairs. I want to put on the record that I was dead against any thought of a safe injecting room because I did not see anything safe about it at the beginning. I have to say that, after talking to a lot of people around the traps about what exactly this is about, I started thinking a little bit more deeply and looked into my own experiences with regard to this. I want to pay tribute to Brian McConnell and his family for coming here tonight because it is people like that family who jolt us into thinking about it and give us a reality check.

Mr Speaker, we can attack the drug problem with effective police and customs action, and I think we ought to resource those areas as extensively as necessary. That is one of the things that we really ought to do. We also have to make sure that we resource the support services for the police too, because they are the people who turn up to handle the bad part of this problem. Mr Speaker, I was really swayed when the Youth

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