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Recreational Drug Use ‘Like Mountaineering’ ::

Reported by Trackitdown TID on September 17, 2007

Leading Australian columnist Lisa Pryor called for an ‘honest and adult debate’ about drug use this week and criticized young people for being ‘too gutless’ to fight against the war on drugs.

Ms Pryor branded official drug warnings ‘a complete crock’ in her column in the Sydney Morning Herald and attacked ‘despicable’ officials who try to make drug use unsafe to discourage users.

“The truth is that recreational drug taking is like mountaineering. When all goes well, as it does most of the time, the experience can be fun and even profound. But drug taking, like mountaineering, can be dangerous,” she pointed out.

“Drug takers can develop addictions, scramble their brains and a small minority will die. Mountaineers lose fingers and toes to frostbite. Plenty die. They put the lives of rescuers at risk. When things do go wrong, it always looks like an unnecessary risk in hindsight. Families are destroyed. The difference between drug taking and mountaineering is that no one tries to ban mountaineering,” she said.

Ms Pryor was speaking soon after Australian rugby hero Andrew Johns admitted using ecstasy regularly for ten years after he was busted with one pill by London cops, as he made his way to the Notting Hill carnival. His confession alarmed leading Australian drugs counselor Paul Dillon (boss of the Drug and Alcohol Research and Training Australia) who said it made his job considerably harder.

“Andrew Johns appears to have suffered very few, if any, significant health problems. Too many ecstasy users already believe their drug of choice is relatively benign, and the Johns affair will not have altered that belief,” he told the Herald Sun.

“Unfortunately, Johns' admission has helped confirm what many people already believe: drug use is out of control and everyone does it.

Giving young people information that is credible and is not being contradicted by high-profile sportsmen is proving to be increasingly difficult,” he added.

Australia’s Courier Mail also entered the debate with an article titled ‘time for as reality check’ which reported on middle class ‘white collar’ drug users, few of whom ever appear in drug surveys.

“Researchers say it is difficult to gather information in surveys because there is no value in responding to it for the professional who doesn't fee he or she has a problem,” the newspaper said, “But most experts agree there are many "recreational" drug users in Australia who manage their habit, do not develop any serious health problems and continue to be useful members of society.”

Jonty Skrufff (