Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 5 Hansard (8 May) . . Page.. 1373 ..
MR STANHOPE (continuing):
destroying their limbs, which become non-functional as a result of the extent and the regularity of the injections they inflict on themselves.
The police advise me that they have significant problems controlling people under the influence of amphetamines and that, more often than not, amphetamine induces aggression and activity in a user rather than passivity, a feature of the use of heroin. There is a whole range of issues that we do not talk about as much as we should.
Nearly one in five deaths in Australia is drug related. The research available to me indicates that in 1998, 22,500 Australians died from drug-related causes and 175,000 Australians were hospitalised as a result of conditions caused by harmful drug use. It is estimated by our health researchers that drug use causes at least $18 billion worth of harm to the Australian community a year.
Of the $18 million cost of drug abuse to the ACT community, as estimated by our health research, $12.7 million is the result of the abuse of tobacco. There is a range of tangible and intangible costs, and they do not include the costs related to passive smoking, which American researchers estimate to be at 10 per cent of the costs of active smoking.
This may reflect my views and where I come from, but I believe there is undue attention given to illicit drug use. As I have just said, most people who die or are injured from drug use or abuse do so as a result of smoking and alcohol related diseases. In fact, for decades the three leading causes of disease and injury in Australia have been associated with smoking. Tobacco smoking is the greatest single preventable cause of premature death and disease in Australia. To put it starkly, in Australia tobacco kills more people each year than the total number of people killed by alcohol, illicit drugs, AIDS, murder, suicide, road crashes, rail crashes, air crashes, poisoning, drowning, fires, falls, lightning-
MR SPEAKER: The member's time has expired.
MR STANHOPE: I seek a very short extension, Mr Speaker. Two minutes.
MR SPEAKER: I have difficulty because the standing orders do not allow for another extension, unless there is a motion.
MR STANHOPE: I will let it go at that, Mr Speaker. It is fine with me. I have got two paragraphs to go-a beautiful rhetorical flourish-but I have made my point.
I support the motion. The task force will be implemented. The terms of reference will be announced next week, as will the formation of the task force.
MR HUMPHRIES (Leader of the Opposition) (8.35): Mr Speaker, the Liberal Party supports the motion, as members have heard. The flattering thought that we are picking the model of the poverty task group is one that compels us to see this as an appropriate way of dealing with a problem as difficult as the abuse of drugs.