Pubdate: Wed, 16 Apr 2003
Source: Vancouver Sun (CN BC)
Copyright: 2003 The Vancouver Sun
Author: Jack Miller


Having grown up in Vancouver, I too can remember Hastings and Main and 
environs in the balmier days of the 1940s and 1950s, and even the 1960s 
(Support drug crackdown to give streets back to families, Letters, April 
14). Those were times when kids were safe on the street, busting a bottle 
club (an unlicensed, BYOB drinking establishment) was a big news item and a 
murder was grist for a month's newspaper stories. In most of the city's 
neighbourhoods, only the most paranoid locked their doors.

Despite its current crime and drug scene, Vancouver remains one of the 
safest cities in North America. That's why so many people keep moving here. 
Nor is there anything new about the drug scene. As a Pacific coast port of 
entry, Vancouver has long been known as the heroin "capital" of Canada -- 
since well before letter writer Kevin Davie and I were born.

Unfortunately, drugs are here to stay. The only defences are accurate, 
honest information for children, and harm reduction for the few who get hooked.

Mr. Davie's alternative, more laws and more enforcement, such as the War 
Against Drugs in the U.S., has created zones in American cities into which 
even armed police will venture only with considerable caution, and suburbs 
where people wall themselves in and hire their own guards.

The syndrome producing that situation is not hard to figure out: More 
enforcement, higher drug prices. Higher drug prices produce users more 
desperate for money and more dealers eager for high profits. It's pretty 
simple, but some people still refuse to see it.

Jack Miller

Port Clements
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