Opiates

Heroin Damages the Brain

A heroin overdose produces permanent brain damage that has tragic consequences for heroin users.

Below is a summary of The Age newspaper article on 2 April 2001.

  • Narcan (heroin recovery) did not prevent the brain damage.
  • The heroin caused permanent serious debilitating brain damage.
  • Brain damage from a heroin overdose come about because of a rapid rise in blood pressure, sometimes causing the veins in the base of the brain to explode which deprive the brain of oxygen.
  • The overdose brain damage left the survivor with spasticity, serious speech impairment, pain, watering eyes and bound in a wheel chair.
  • Just one small occupational therapy practice sees two new overdose survivors with brain damage each month.
  • Some brain damaged heroin overdose survivors require two years of intensive rehabilitation to learn to blink their eyes to communicate.
  • The overdose survivor in the article can only speak one word.
  • There is no state government funding for brain damage survivors for disability support for home modifications.
  • The funded attended care for survivors for dressing, feeding, showering, etc., was cut from 70 hours a week to 30 hours a week.
  • There is a massive burden on an overdose survivor's family.
  • Most heroin overdose brain damaged survivors are males between 20 and 43 with most living in nursing homes.

This information proves that injecting rooms, heroin trials, overdose recovery and prescription heroin are all dangerous policies.

Heroin Causes Car Deaths

Heroin addicts cause car crashes that lead to death according to the Herald Sun on 4 May 2001 which disclosed-

  • A 21 year old addict after using amphetamines and smoking heroin drove a car at 115 kph which crashed into another car.
  • As a result of the crash two people were killed and four people were badly injured including the addict's former fiancee.
  • The addicted driver was a convicted drug trafficker
  • The addicted driver was out on bail at the time
  • The speeding car the addicted driver was driving was stolen
  • The addicted driver had previously lost a sister from a heroin overdose
  • The police had not chased the stolen vehicle being driven by the addicted driver
  • The addicted driver was convicted of two counts of culpable driving, four counts of negligently causing serious injury and one count of possession of a drug of dependence.

Heroin Production in Afghanistan Must Stop

According to United Nations officials in Pakistan, opium prices in Afghanistan have crashed from $700 per kg to only $300 per kg after the attacks on the World Trade Centre & Pentagon.

With the fall of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan, the opium industry must be wiped out and farmers that grew opium must be made to grow other crops.

The new government in Afghanistan must not follow the Taliban and use opium as a cash crop for foreign currency.

Australia now has an opportunity to permanently reduce the supply of heroin.

According to an article in the New York Times on 26/11/01 farmers in Afghanistan are looking forward to growing poppys for opium. THIS MUST NOT HAPPEN

By having more heroin busts by Australian federal police and reduced heroin supply from Afghanistan, there has been a reduction of heroin related deaths in Victoria. This reduction on heroin supply must now be followed by a reduction in the demand for heroin.

THE DRUG ADVISORY COUNCIL OF AUSTRALIA Inc. CALLS ON ALL AUSTRALIAN MEMBERS OF PARLIAMENT TO PRESSURE CANBERRA TO SEE THAT ALL HEROIN PRODUCTION IN AFGHANISTAN CEASES IMMEDIATELY.

PLEASE EMAIL MR. HOWARD TODAY.

Record High World Heroin Production

The United Nations survey on Opium production in Afghanistan confirms a record 2006 crop up by 59 per cent over the 2005 crop.

Afghanistan now has a near monopoly on heroin production with 82 per cent of the world crop.

One in eight of the Afghanistan population is involved with opium poppy cultivation making drug trafficking the major part of the economy estimated at $US3,100 million.

(Source: United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, Afghanistan Opium Survey 2006)

DRUG ADVISORY COUNCIL COMMENTS-

In the past increases in world heroin supply have led to an increase in the purity of heroin causing increased numbers of heroin deaths.

The United Nations have reported a reduction in opium prices so that heroin is likely to be come cheaper, more widely available and purer.

Australia has experienced a heroin drought which has led to fewer deaths from heroin use.

The latest Australian Crime Commission report indicates that the Heroin drought will lead traffickers to look to Afghanistan as a potential source of Heroin in the future.

Whilst Australian border protection has lead to a threefold increase of Heroin seizures recently, Australia has to expect an increase in trafficking and its potential for more heroin deaths in the future.

Our Council supports the reduction of illicit drug users in Australia to destroy the demand for illicit drugs that will fuel the trafficking.

Heroin Death Lessons

Death from Heroin use can provide an opportunity for authorities to learn valuable lessons to prevent future drug related deaths.

Australia is currently experiencing a heroin drought with a concurrent reduction in heroin related deaths, however the United Nations is warning that heroin production in Afghanistan is now at record levels.

Information from one Australian state can be useful in understanding heroin use and deaths that occur throughout Australia. So the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine has provided a useful report on deaths from 1991 to 2005, highlights of which are-

  • Heroin deaths peaked in 1999 then fell and have since risen again.
  • Deaths of males are substantially above those of females.
  • The average age of heroin users that died has increased from 28 to 33 years.
  • Almost half of the heroin users that died were unemployed.
  • Two out of three heroin users that died had Hepatitis C.
  • Other illicit drugs were present in the majority of heroin deaths.
  • Other illicit drugs cause more deaths than heroin.

(Source: Heroin Deaths in Victoria 2005 available at www.vifm.org (link no longer works))

DRUG ADVISORY COUNCIL COMMENTS-

All illicit drug deaths in Australia indicate the need for more detoxification and rehabilitation programs that get users free of drugs.

If we add the deaths caused by Methadone to those of illicit drugs, clearly the current drug policy of harm minimization is NOT working.

Australia needs to substantially reduce the number of illicit drug users in order to substantially reduce the number of drug deaths.

Court ordered detoxification and rehabilitation has been proven to reduce the number of drug users and deaths and MUST be implemented urgently.

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THE DRUG ADVISORY COUNCIL OF AUSTRALIA SUPPORTS

More detoxification & rehabilitation that gets illicit drug users drug free.
Court ordered and supervised detoxification & rehabilitation.
Less illicit drug users, drug pushers and drug related crimes.

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