Paper: The Drug Aspect in the Current Debate about Heroin Crisis in Australia

This can be seen in the current debate with the focus on treatments to cure addicts. So what is the reality of heroin and the people who use it. Heroin use is viewed only as a result of addiction but surprisingly only 15% of people who use heroin represent the stereotypical image of a junkie. The majority of those who use heroin do so recreationally and do not seek help and rarely find themselves in trouble with the police. (Alcorn and Brady 1999) The problem with these theories is that they fail to look at the broader sociological problems such as unemployment and marginalisation of certain groups within society, particularly young people. Dr Nick Crofts states that . heroin is a symptom of marginalisation. (Alcorn and Brady 1999:74) Heroin is often a drug of young people, the average age of first time users has decreased to around 17 years of age. Australia has amongst the highest youth unemployment and suicide rates in the world. Heroin is primarily a pain killer perhaps used to block the pain of these troubled youths. Other factors in heroin use are low social and communal values, rebelliousness and perceptions of alienation. Those with major family conflict or separation were also at a high risk. The current debate focuses on demonising heroin it rarely considers the life circumstances of many of those who become addicts. By focusing the drug itself we are failing to the look at the wider sociological context. While the debate continues to do this there is little chance of understanding the complexities of drug use within our society and to tackle the problems of addiction in a manner that provides long-term solutions. REFERENCES ALCORN, G. and BRADY, N. (1999) Heroin the bogyman of the frightened 90s The Age, 6 April 1999, p.73-75. KELLEHEAR, A. and CVETKOVSKI, S. (1998) Grand Theories of Drug Use, in Hamilton, M., Kellehear, A., and Rumbold, G. (Ed) Drug Use in Australia. Melbourne: Oxford University Press....