A proposal

In today’s SMH Letters section. I would like to say that it is a modest one but suspect that was not the author’s intent:

Change strategy – target drug users

Good arguments have been put against decriminalising drug-taking (Letters, January 3) and let’s hope the proposal will be shelved. But rather than continuing as we are now, wasting millions a year in the never-ending chase after drug smugglers and dealers, it would make more sense to do what amounts to the opposite of decriminalisation, that is, come down heavily on users.

Directing resources towards putting a good proportion of drug-takers out of harm’s way until they dry out would benefit them and society: it would help those individuals find a real life and, by lowering demand and thus the price on the street, it would reduce petty criminal activity, while making the drug trade less attractive to organised crime.

Finally, policing would be more straightforward and its goals more achievable. It’s simpler to detect a junkie than a wily crime boss.

Mary McClure Armidale

For what it’s worth, other than to the extent that sufficiently frequent universal drug testing could detect all “junkies,” I don’t think Ms McClure’s last sentence is true at all, and there are about a million more reasons which I cannot stir myself to elaborate on at this hour why this is a really stupid proposal.

7 Responses to “A proposal”

  1. wanderer Says:

    Why give this hateful ignorant and oh-so-not-satirical rubbish more oxygen? Here I am closeted in blissful hiding from reality and now this! I am having bad thoughts. Unless of course the letter writer (I have not and will not be following the correspondence) is actually referring to that really bad drug, the worst of them all. Not.

  2. marcellous Says:

    W, sorry to spoil your idyll. I wonder if I’m a bit sensitized to letter-writers named Mary spouting apparent commonsense because D and I both watched “Filth” on ABCTV recently, which dramatized (comedically) Mary Whitehouse’s entry in to public life circa 1964-5. I’m afraid neither of us was really ready to see the joke.

  3. wanderer Says:

    I didn’t see “Filth” but the mere mention of her name is enough to understand your sensitivity, as you might understand my desensitisation having just watched another 60’s episode, “If”, thanks to a letter box and a blue-haired anarchist. What really disturbed me is not her patently stupid (as you pointed out) solution, but her nauseating certainty as to what constitutes a “real life”.

  4. ken n Says:

    I strongly disagree W. It is good to hear what is out there to be supported or battled with.
    The irony in the letter is how much it resembles arguments about – eg – communism. Some say it has been a failure so it should be forgotten, others that it has never been properly tried.
    Or as Krugman argues in NYT, the US stimulus has not worked because it wasn’t enough.
    You make your choice.
    Anyway, I understand that drugs are easier to get in jail than on the street.

  5. wanderer Says:

    @ken n

    ken, I’m not sure with what you strongly disagree. Is it that I (jokingly) ribbed M about drawing the letter to my attention?

    Or that I assert with reference that alcohol is the most damaging drug, to the individual and society? I am about to attend my 40th medical year reunion. I have dealt with the endless shocking effects of alcohol and tobacco for 40 years but precious little, other than the odd abscess, from the illegals.

    Or my belief that the detection and locking up of all illegal drug users is anything but insanely impractical let alone a failure of understanding of why people take drugs?

    Or that I don’t appear to support ‘trying’ to some exponential extent? I know that what has been tried, and failed, is enforcing illegality.

    And as for availability, maybe it is easier outside than in.

  6. ken n Says:

    “Why give this hateful ignorant and oh-so-not-satirical rubbish more oxygen? ”

    This is the statement with which i disagree W. If it was a joke, then I apologise for missing the joke.

  7. wanderer Says:

    No need to apologise ken n, that sentence was a serious question which included my serious thoughts on the letter although it was a lead to the next (sentence) which was tongue in cheek.

    While I can’t disagree that the issue needs exposure (now I apologise), I am obviously weary of what I perceive to be the poverty of understanding of the essence of the problem and without that (understanding) how to deal with it.

    I should reinforce again what I said in a previous response and that is what really disturbs me (much more than the whys and hows of dealing with drug use/abuse) is the letter writer’s assertion that she has knowledge about how another’s life is made meaningful.

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