Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Legalising Heroin?


I had a sense of deja vu reading this article in The Age this week. There have been murmurings about legalisation of heroin in Australia for years now.

The arguments for legalisation are sound. Take away the illegality and the black maket prices should be less astronomical, and the people who do use the drug are less exposed to legal harm and more likely to seek help when they need it.

However, there also has to be a balance with retaining enough control so that the legal supply doesn't end up being diverted in large amounts into the black market.

The experience overseas has looked at models where people on heroin treatment had to use the drug onsite at a drug treatment clinic. This has the advantage of being supervised therefore reducing the risk of diversion into the black market. It does require adequate resourcing to provide appropriate staff and facilities, especially considering the fact that heroin is relatively short acting and the frequency of injecting is sometimes several times per day.

Certainly worth at least considering as an option...

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