Pubdate: Fri, 28 Jun 2002
Source: Vancouver Sun (CN BC)
Copyright: 2002 The Vancouver Sun
Author: Ken Wilson


For an assistant professor of political science, Boris DeWiel has a pretty 
shaky grasp of reality (The safer drug use is, the more attractive drugs 
will be, Commentary, June 26). Without providing any hard data, he suggests 
that protecting people from harm makes them more likely to engage in risky 
behaviour, just because the risk is reduced.

In reality, the "moral hazard" created by fire insurance is the temptation 
on the part of heavily insured property owners to burn their property down 
to collect the insurance, not insurance-induced carelessness.

So how does all this sloppy thinking apply to safe injection sites and drug 
use? It doesn't. To apply the "moral hazard" argument requires us to 
believe people will begin to use hard drugs just so they can take advantage 
of safe injection sites.

But more to the point, addicts don't use drugs because the drugs are low 
risk; they use drugs because they are addicted. Kids won't begin to use 
drugs just because there are safe injection sites. New users already have 
"safe" injection sites (homes or cars). It's only after the addiction takes 
hold and the cost of buying drugs leaves them destitute that addicts find 
themselves on the Downtown Eastside in need of a safe place to shoot up. 
Denying addicts a safe place won't stop a single kid from becoming an 
addict. Kids don't turn to drugs after evaluating the risks and finding 
them acceptable.

There are far better ways to keep our suburban kids off drugs than 
punishing eastside addicts to set an example. We should set the example 

Ken Wilson

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