Australia: UN Drug Official Slams Safe Injecting Room 9/10/99

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Peter Watney for DRCNet, [email protected]

The Secretary of the United Nations' International Narcotics Control Board has written an apparently unsolicited letter to a Sydney pastor warning that, in his opinion, a planned safe injection room for heroin users in New South Wales would be inconsistent with Australia's ratification of UN conventions on narcotics.

The medically supervised safe injection room is to be operated on a trial basis in Sydney by the Sisters controlling St. Vincent's Hospital, under a contract with the NSW government. The government approved the plan after experts at a drug summit last spring recommended such a facility to cope with rising rates of heroin addiction and drug related harm in the state.

The pastor has no official position with the project, and it is not known whether the Secretary has communicated his concerns directly to the NSW government. But last year, Australian plans for a trial heroin prescription program were scuttled after US officials reportedly threatened to use articles of the UN drug conventions to shut down Tasmania's pharmaceutical opium industry.

Last week, lawmakers in Victoria said they would not allow safe injection rooms in that state, despite polls showing that over 70% of the public supports the idea.

(Visit http://www.lindesmith.org/library/focal6.html on The Lindesmith Center web site to learn more about safe injecting rooms.)

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Issue #107, 9/10/99 First National Student Conference on Drug Policy and Justice, November 5-6, Washington, DC | New Mexico Poll: 60% Agree Drug War is Failing, Disagree on Solutions | Australia: UN Drug Official Slams Safe Injecting Room | Canada: Starbucks Needle Disposal Prompts Investigation | Insurance Company Reimburses Patient for Seized Marijuana | SAMHSA Study Calls for More Workplace Drug Treatment, but Also Supports More Drug Testing | Quote of the Week | Cato Institute Briefing Paper Warns of "Culture of Paramilitarism" in Law Enforcement | Editorial: Standing Up 101
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