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By Alfa · Apr 25, 2004 ·
  1. Alfa
    Sydney Morning Herald (Australia)

    Ross Gittins overlooks one factor in his economist's analysis of illicit
    drug use. Gittins relates Don Weatherburn's explanation of the spike in
    crime caused by the switch to cocaine when the heroin drought hit but fails
    to explain the decline in crime that followed.

    More than 30,000 Australians now participate in methadone programs; that's
    nearly half of the number of heavy heroin users. While cocaine may have
    been a short-term substitute for some, methadone is an accessible and cheap
    substitute for the majority of heroin users.

    While Gittins focuses on the role of policing in reducing the supply of
    illicit drugs, he fails to acknowledge the role of harm minimisation
    strategies in reducing demand. The combined effect of reducing both supply
    and demand is leading to reduced crime rates. We need both strategies in
    place to develop a climate conducive to reducing illicit drug use. The real
    war on drugs is the battle fought every day by people addicted to illicit


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