Furore over teen drug tips in 'User's Guide to Speed'

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Melbourne, Nov 24 : Anti-drugs campaigners were enraged after teenage school students were provided with a controversial brochure called 'A User's Guide to Speed', when they attended a State Government-promoted anti-drug and alcohol program.

The 35-page booklet was part of drugs literature displayed to up to 100 students of eighth standard and their parents during a community information day.

The rather 'debated' booklet contains a section on "tips to avoid getting bad speed", along with many other messages for the teens.

"If you don't already have a reliable dealer, try to find one and stick with them," the Daily Telegraph quoted the booklet as telling the teenage readers.

It also said: "When you're using a new batch, only try a little at first . . . you can always use the rest later if you need to."

The booklet's availability during workshops at the Toronto Courthouse near Newcastle has outraged anti-drugs campaigners.

The book was available at the event along with another on "Choosing to use" that former Health Minister Reba Meagher ordered to be pulped in June.

The user's guide, produced by the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, tells teens amphetamine-related speed can suppress appetite and help in weight loss.

The book calls out for users to take breaks from using speed, allow time to "come down" so it doesn't interfere with work or study and also to carry the phone number of a legal aid solicitor with them.

Paul Dillon, one of the authors, drugs educator, said that the brochure's presence at the community day was an "unfortunate mistake".

Dillon said that the resource, produced to help amphetamine users cut down or quit the habit, was inappropriate for 14 and 15-year-old high school students.

"You have got to be very careful about the message you are delivering to young people," he said.

While Dillon had no involvement in the community day, he said that there were chances that the booklet probably was among a selection of material provided by an agency asked to exhibit.

In promoting the community day Attorney-General John Hatzistergos said high school students would learn about the damaging effects of alcohol and other drugs.

A spokesman for Hatzistergos said that the Government did not condone the use of illegal drugs.

"The Attorney-General's Department is looking into if, how and why this brochure turned up at a court open day," he said.

ANI

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