Reading Gwynne Dyer’s article, "Police against drug prohibition make a case" (January 9,) I am reminded of a letter I sent to a local paper 18 years ago. The letter was in support of a Victoria Police chief superintendent who had called for public discussion on the merits of legalising heroin.
There was no response.
In that letter I ventured the opinion that if this drug (and others) were decriminalised and made available to dependent users at modest prices, at controlled outlets where they could be treated, then almost overnight it would: relieve the distressed families of those addicted; free people from the fear of being robbed and assaulted; reduce the overcrowding in prisons; and deny millions of dollars to ruthless drug dealers.
I was motivated in this action by knowing the family of a young woman who jumped from a high-rise building while under the influence of drugs as well as the family of a young man who engaged in prostitution to pay for his habit. Unfortunately the situation is far worse today, as Gwynne Dyer explains.
Today there are no apparent efforts being made to review the outcome of our adoption of the US "war on drugs" model which is obviously failing.
I hope we don’t have to wait up to 50 years to introduce another, more effective, strategy to combat such a socially disruptive and life-destroying disorder.
Keith McEwan, Banks (Canberra Times Letter)