Pubdate: Fri, 30 Nov 2001
Source: Abbotsford News (CN BC)
Copyright: 2001 Hacker Press Ltd.
Authors: Kevin Allan, Lt. Jim Speros


Editor, The News:

I see that your columnist John Pifer likes the status quo. He says we 
should do nothing and keep letting the illicit drug addicts die.

I assume he believes the death sentence is appropriate. Should we also 
murder our alcohol addicts who cause much more havoc to our society? 
Alcohol is the drug with the highest intoxication. It kills more than six 
times the youth than all illicit drugs combined.

It also seems obvious that the drug with the highest intoxication levels is 
the drug that is more dangerous to those around the user or abuser of that 
drug. We have all seen a drunk.

He does raise a question, though. Do prohibitionists think that it's the 
illicit drug that lures our children into addiction, or that the person 
chooses to use these substances and therefore it is their fault and they 
should die for their choice, as John Pifer states?

The truth is addicts let themselves get addicted, although most of them 
don't know this themselves. That is the real tragedy. They use these 
substances because they hurt. Addiction to any and all substances is only a 

The drugs (including the drug alcohol) are not the problem. The problem is 
a society that is too willing to buy the prohibitionists' party line that 
it's the drug. This is the true cop-out. The truth is almost with out 
exception, all addictions are a symptom of low to zero (internal) self-esteem.

Who else would live in a gutter but a person with no self-worth? It's the 
same reason alcohol addicts abuse their drug and the Inuit sniff gasoline. 
It's also the same reason that only 10 to 15 per cent of regular users of 
any substance get addicted (like the 10 per cent of police officers who are 
alcohol addicts).

Addicts are programmed as children. We should really have a war on 
self-esteem destroyers.

Prohibition is a death sentence for our illicit drug addicts. Who can 
support this ? The laws are bad, not the people (and addicts are real 
people, not scum as John Pifer implies).

Thanks for listening,

Kevin Allan North


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. . . And Continues

Editor, The News:

As a lieutenant with the San Francisco Police, I am retiring this year with 
27 years in policing. I found rather incredible the opinions that Mr. Pifer 
expressed in his recent column on user sites.

I have personally worked in Amsterdam, discussed these issues with doctors 
and police in England, India, Switzerland, Australia and researched our 
disaster we call the war on drugs. I completed a thesis this year for 
Command College that examined the impact of medicalized heroin on urban 

In cities where addicts get medical-grade heroin or have safe user rooms, 
crime has gone down in the traditional areas the addicts were involved in, 
medical costs drop dramatically and rates of addiction decline.

Certainly strict control and holding addicts accountable for their actions 
is a prerequisite to make this program work. But then policing is more than 
enforcement; it is helping people come back from the margins of society and 
breaking cycles of addiction where possible.

Most addicts do not choose to become addicted. Many are generational 
addicts, have abuse in their family history or deep emotional/mental 
problems that our society ignores.

Most addicts want to break out of their addiction and do not want to see 
anyone else go down their path. I've spent many years chasing down street 
addicts and citing them into court to get them into programs.

Unfortunately, the programs are few and far between and the problems still 
exist. I learned long ago that we need to focus on the root causes rather 
than symptoms, emotional rationalizing or moral blame games.

We all have friends or family members who have been addicted: Nicotine, 
alcohol, prescription medications, illicit drugs.

We all must share some blame for letting this occur. We all must share the 
load to reduce it.

This may not be the best, only or final solution to the problem of heroin 
addiction, but it merits examination and objective trial. Thank you.

Lt. Jim Speros

SFPD #436

San Francisco, Calif.
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