Weaponising privilege

Winning the war on the war on drugs

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  • Published 20200203
  • ISBN: 9781925773804
  • Extent: 264pp
  • Paperback (234 x 153mm), eBook

ON 12 NOVEMBER 1986, physician Alex Wodak and his staff fixed a note to the door of their building near to St Vincent’s Hospital in Darlinghurst, Sydney: ‘If you would like a clean needle and syringe, free, press this buzzer.’

Providing needles and syringes to people who use drugs was illegal. The Netherlands had introduced needle exchange to prevent HIV infection two years earlier with promising results, but in Australia police and politicians argued against it, claiming it sent the wrong message and would increase drug use – arguments now familiar in the pill-testing debate.

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