If a traditional anti-drug program showed such sorry results, politicians on the left would denounce it as yet another dumb big-spending drug program. But under the "harm reduction" aegis, failure apparently is acceptable.
New South Wales Special Minister of State John Della Bosca announced that the report "makes a strong case for the center's continuing operation." Australia's Green Party backs opening new injecting centers in rural areas.
Daily Telegraph columnist Piers Akerman, however, has taken on the thankless task of challenging the center, with its $1.8 million budget last year. "At $63 a throw (it was projected to cost only $37), the shooting gallery isn't delivering value," Akerman writes. "The same funding could have supported 100 residential rehabilitation beds in nongovernment institutions, offering residential drug dependence treatment."
When the center opened, it was supposed to be for an 18-month "trial." But with its "harm reduction" philosophy, the verdict was fixed: The center can fail to provide a gateway for users to enter rehabilitation, do little to clean up needles and neighborhoods, and show unclear results on overdoses, but as long as it suggests there can be safer hard-core drug use, the center cannot fail.