In Australia it is illegal to both take drugs and deal in drugs. So it came as a surprise to me to learn that there is an organisation for drug users in Victoria which is funded by the government to the tune of $800,000 a year. This organisation, which goes by the name of Vivaids, doesn’t aim to cure the drug problem. Far from it.
It advertisers its services on the net as follows:
VIVAIDS is a statewide membership based organisation of drug users. Our membership is made up of current users, ex users and people whose aim is to increase information and education about illicit drug use so that people who take drugs do so with minimum harm to themselves.
We also seek to improve the way people who take drugs are treated by medical, community and government services and to increase the awareness in the general community, about issues relating to illicit drug use.
They inform, rather than warn. They teach users how to take drugs. And they lobby the community, the government and health services. And if it hadn’t been for a news item about Vivaids’ chief, Damon Brogan, slamming the police for arresting drug users at a rave, I would have remained blissfully unaware of how “unfair” the police are.
What happened was that there was some rave on at Ultraworld (don’t ask me what that is cause I couldn’t care less) and about 80 policemen and their sniffer dogs attended in order to keep the peace.
Well, this panicked the revellers and some of them decided not to waste their stash of vitamins but ingested them rather quickly and three of them are now on life-support systems. Most of the other arrested drug users were put on drug diversion programmes.
Damon blames the police and he has a valid complaint. Let me see if I can explain his logic. If it weren’t for the police there would have been no panic for the possibility of being caught breaking the law does tend to cause concern. Ergo, it’s the fault of the police. Simple, isn’t it?
Damon’s protest can be interpreted as a consequence of being too closely involved with the drug scene. Not only is there a danger of becoming an abuser and a felon, and even a dead one at that, but your thinking cap may be tilted slightly in favour of the law-breakers as it has in the case of the chief of Vivaids.
Personally, I would like to see drugs decriminalised because making them illegal is not getting rid of the problem. If drugs were easier to obtain then there would not have to be so much violence perpetrated on the ordinary public. Take my word for it, Damon, the community is very aware of the drug problem. We are told that most burglars are looking for cash to support their habit. The elderly are terrified of hand bag snatchers who are usually desperate drug addicts. Sadly, these senior citizens often fear going outside in case they are attacked. Damon, they too, are very aware of the problem.
Police should not have to waste their precious time attending raves in search of drug-addicts. And most importantly, our scarce health resources should not have to be diverted to addicts who are violent when they present at hospital and who endanger the lives of medical practitioners. We have few hospital beds as it is and our health system is buckling under the weight of drunks and addicts who overfill emergency rooms on the weekend.
I would allow addicts to obtain their supply for free, from a designated government body. That would get rid of the need to deal and to commit crimes. If users want to stop their habit then there should be a facility where genuine help would be provided.
But if they don’t want to kick the habit, they can go on using forever.