Editorial: It’s Time for a Bi-partisan Approach to Drug Policy Reform
Many readers of User’s News would be rejoicing at the demise of the Howard government, not least because of its drug policy. “Tough on Drugs” was the mantra, the message being zero tolerance to drug use and opposition to progressive programs such as the proposed heroin trial in the ACT (scuttled by the Howard government in 1997).
Between 1998 and 2001 Australia experienced a heroin glut like no other time in its history. You could hop on a train to Cabramatta (known as the “smack express”) and exchange $35 for a cap of very pure heroin without even leaving the station. But as notorious as Cabramatta was for fine China white, it was by no means the only place — the Cross, the Block, the right mobile number were all avenues to a strong, relatively cheap hit. And then, as suddenly as it started, heroin became scarce, expensive and a lot less strong. It became known as the heroin drought, although in truth it never entirely went away.
Yesterday I was chatting to a psychiatrist who specialises in D&A. Poor girl was really frustrated.
“Why do people take drugs? Why do they fuck themselves up, spend so much energy to get out of it, only to end up in the same shitty mess the next day?”
“Well what’s so great about being straight? Life is shit.”
“Of course life is shit, get used to it. Hell is on earth but that’s no excuse to make it worse. You have to work at it. You can get high without drugs. A quick fix is just lazy. There’s nothing glamorous about it either, in spite of what the movies may portray. All I see is a bunch of losers, taking no responsibility for themselves or their lives.”
Why do we do it? Why do we spend every last cent we have (and some we don’t) on gear? Why do we alienate our family and friends, risk losing our children and expose ourselves over and over? What’s so great about drugs?