Help youth survive…youth

There is no doubt illicit drugs such as powdered ecstasy, or Molly, can cause adverse health consequences (”Powdered form of ecstasy takes off among users”, December 29, Canberra Times). Many dangers come from the unknown quality and strength of the drug because it is illegal, thus there are no controls over those factors.Other dangers come from the way we deal with the users. Getting caught with these drugs means involvement of the law and the consequences that entails. Thus use is in secret. Police might use sniffer dogs at dance venues, frightening young, naive users into swallowing the remaining drug to avoid detection, thus multiplying the drug’s dangers, sometimes to the point of death.

Clearly, the safest thing is not to use the drug. In a similar way, the safest use of alcohol is not to use it. But young people do use. For those using alcohol, we provide advice and education on safer use and how to get home safely after a night out. After all, we do want them to live through that experience unharmed.

It is astounding we do not do the same for users of drugs. Would it not be more sensible to do all we could to help them live through the experience by providing safer use messages, and including drug-testing facilities and amnesty bins instead of sniffer dogs?

Indeed, do whatever it takes – these are, after all, much-loved children doing what children do.

– B. McConnell, CLA member, Higgins ACT

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