ARC's 1st Law: As a "progressive" online discussion grows longer, the probability of a nefarious reference to Karl Rove approaches one

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

And Now for Something Completely Different

Mr. Mackey says "Drugs are bad..." but don't tell that to the Canadians.

No doubt this will be an issue in 2006 and the 2008 elections... Given the "ideas" of the Democratic Party, there's no doubt that they'll champion the "progressive" nature of the Canadian policy and wonder why we can't implement something similar here in the US.

Excerpted in full... and no, this isn't from The Onion:

Dec 06 8:12 AM US/Eastern

Health authorities in Canada's westernmost province want to make the country's first test facility for heroin injection permanent and are considering opening additional clinics to meet the huge demand. The Vancouver facility was set up in 2003, against US opposition, as a three-year experiment exempt from Canadian drug laws.

Since then the clinic, North America's only such operation, has run at capacity, with some 800 heroin injections daily.

"It's all-round positive, with no downsides," said Perry Kendall, British Columbia province's chief medical officer.
Well, that's good to know... heroin injections in a supervised facility have no downsides! Well, sounds like a prescription for an expansion of the program!
Kendall said the clinic achieved its goal to cut overdose deaths and rates of hepatitis and HIV infection. Although its exemption from drug laws will not expire until September 2006, this month he applied to Health Canada to make the facility permanent.

With a federal election currently underway in Canada, a decision will likely take months.

The clinic looks like an innocuous storefront in Vancouvers squalid Downtown Eastside district, Canada's most impoverished neighbourhood with more than 5,000 heroin addicts concentrated in a 10-block area.
5,000 heroin addicts within 10 blocks. Sounds pleasant. keep that number in mind... five thousand. And just to prove the point, here's one of the clinic's "customers"!

Addicts bring in drugs purchased illegally on the street, and self-inject them under medical supervision. There are onsite emergency services in case of overdose and staff nurses and counselors to provide health care and referrals to rehabilitation facilities.

Worldwide, about 50 similar clinics operate routinely, mostly in Europe.
I'm sure no one reading this blog is suprised that Europe is way ahead of Canada on this one...
As in Europe, Canadian public opinion has changed to view drug addiction as a health issue instead of a purely criminal matter.
Well, that's great... because, you know.... Drugs are bad (in a Mr. Mackey voice). But to criminalize a harmless drug like heroin, well... that's just cruel.
But drug issues here are affected by the proximity to the United States with its official war on drugs.
Those F@#$ING YANKEES!!!! Always ruining a good time!
The Vancouver clinic is a stone's throw from the border with Washington state, and since it opened the White House has criticized it as an "inhumane" medical experiment.

The United States also opposes a new experiment in Vancouver to give addicts free prescription heroin in hopes of reducing property crimes to feed their habit.

Hmmmm... free heroin to reduce property crimes. Not just legalizing it and taxing it, but actually becoming their dealer without all of that funny Canadian money
Ironically, the success of Vancouvers supervised heroin use site led to another controversy this month, as Vancouver police launched a crackdown on public drug use.

For years police have turned a blind eye in some areas to thousands of addicts shooting up on sidewalks, streets and in public buildings such as libraries, and leaving behind used syringes.

Police now say because addicts can use the supervised facility, they will be stopped from injecting in public.
Ironic... yes...
"The police recognize drug addiction as a health issue... but police must step in when the addicts' activities interfere with other people's lives," police said in a statement.

"Children should be able to use (park playground) swings and not have to worry about pricking themselves with needles buried in the sand," said police Inspector Bob Rolls.

I thought there were no downsides?
Advocates for drug users protested that the police crackdown is cruel because the clinic can only serve a minority of drug users.

"It's just a really destructive thing," said Ann Livingston of the Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users.

She notes that the supervised site can handle just 800 of 15,000 heroin injections daily, and staff are prohibited from physically injecting addicts or letting other addicts inject incapacitated users.

Remember the number of addicts in the 10 block neighborhood of Vancouver? 5,000... And they require 15000 heroin injectios daily... No, nothing destructive going on here. Just some healthcare services.
There's also no place for addicts who smoke cocaine, said Livingston.
The Horror.... The Horror....
Livingston called for a relaxation in clinic rules and the establishment of at least four more clinics in Vancouver.

Kendall agreed that the fact the police crackdown is causing an overflow at the injection site "may make an argument for opening up more sites."
Somehow, when you start to enforce the laws, people obey... and this clinic is providing a nice and comfortable environment (at the taxpayers expense, of course) for these addicts to destroy themselves.

Now, the libertarian in me says, "legalize drugs and give the death penalty to anyone under the influence that injures or kills another human being"... and the libertarian in me also says, "What in the @$#^% are the Canadian taxpayers doing subsidizing drug use and the personal destruction of their fellow citizens?"

Fortunately, the conservative in me then gives the libertarian in me a swift kick in the nose and says, "enforce the @#@%ing laws until they figure it out!"

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Comments (1)
Dr John Crippen said...

Yep, well, in the UK we have programs for registered addicts who will be supplied narotics (usually oral methadone) if they are on an agreed program. The possession of heroin etc and particularly the supply remains a criminal offence. The police don't know whether they are coming or going. Is it a crime or not? The best way to acheive withdrawal used to be incarceration in prison with sedation.

Trouble is, now there are more hard drugs in the prisons than outside them.

And given that the NHS is struggling to treat, say, breast cancer optimally, one wonders why we invest in supporting addicts.

Don't see that nice Mr Bush doing it, do you?