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Wednesday, 1 December 1965

Mr SWARTZ (DARLING DOWNS, QUEENSLAND) (Minister for Health) - I have seen some recent reports relating to this matter, particularly as regards the situation in the United Kingdom. As far as addiction to narcotic drugs is concerned, Australia is in a more fortunate position than are many other countries. At present, there are only 200 known drug addicts in Australia. Under State laws they are required, as recommended in the first instance by the World Health Organisation, to report to the State Directors-General of Health. During the 1964 calendar year only two additional cases were reported in Australia. One was that of an addict to cocaine and the other of an addict to heroin. Heroin, as honorable members know, is a prohibited import, while cocaine is not. I will not comment on how this addiction to heroin was acquired. The narcotic drug situation in Australia is under very strict control. Imports are strictly controlled. Most narcotic drugs, with the exception of heroin, which is a prohibited import, are on the pharmaceutical benefits list but can be used only under very strictly controlled conditions.

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