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Doctor sees effects of alcohol, drugs


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I ABSOLUTELY reject Mr John Bairch’s accusation of having a “laissez-faire” attitude towards drugs (Western opinion, February 26).

Having been a general practitioner for the past 20 years and before that working in both psychiatry and emergency medicine, I am probably more familiar than most with the consequences of alcohol and other drugs.

It is a real and pervasive problem that requires urgent, concerted and long-term involvement of government, health and justice services and the broader community.

We must take an evidence-based approach, which includes minimising the harm that is occurring, rehabilitating and supporting those affected, and educating our younger generation about the risks of drug and alcohol abuse.

Some of our sporting codes might like to look overseas and institute the same vigilance and intolerance of drug use that has been employed with good effect.

Getting drugs out of sport is critical to reducing societal acceptance of this destructive and harmful behaviour.

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Though I understand that you see the detrimental effects of drug (including alcohol) misuse, it is surely important for you to remember that you are seeing only the dirtiest end of the stick. Minimising harm is an excellent goal, but it should also be remembered that the vast majority of illicit drug users are not problematic or abusers.

I don't really understand the push for abstinence from drugs in sport though? We already know that is a naive position destined for failure in the general community - why expect different of sports-people? However, bad behaviour resulting in the harm of others or their property should never be condoned. And people, no matter who they are, should try to avoid harms to themselves by being educated, knowing their body, knowing their mind and knowing their substance.

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