Pubdate: Wed, 27 Sep 2006
Source: Coquitlam Now, The (CN BC)
Copyright: 2006Lower Mainland Publishing Group, Inc.
Author: Russell Barth


Re: "Drug addiction 'disease of choice,'" Wednesday, Sept. 20.

Teow Tong Chua says, "I want to reiterate that unlike other health 
problems, drug abusers choose to do drugs."

Obesity and heart disease will cost taxpayers more, and will take 
more lives, than addiction to all illegal drugs combined - and those 
diseases are self-inflicted. Taxpayers already pay for that.

Smoking, alcohol, fatty foods are far more deadly and more costly to 
society than all illegal drugs combined, yet we advertise them and 
generate tax revenue from them.

All - yes, all - of North Americans' health problems are 
self-inflicted, even cancer. We eat stuff we know is bad, we drive 
cars that pollute our air, we buy cheap products full of poison to 
clean our clothes and floors and we allow industries to destroy the 
environment. Our habits are costing us billions in health care, so if 
society doesn't pick up the tab, who will? To say that one person's 
disease is more valid than another's because of poor choices is as 
fair as refusing someone medical treatment because of their race, 
age, sex or religion.

If some obese guy came into the emergency room with a heart attack, 
would Chua turn him away? "Sorry Tubby, you should have thought of 
that before you spent 30 years eating fatty foods!" Would that be fair?

Besides, if people like Chua would leave their quasi-moralistic 
ideologies behind, they would realize that it is cheaper to spend a 
dollar now to save $10 later. Free needles, safe injection sites, 
even free pharmaceutical-grade heroin would be cheaper for taxpayers 
than the cops-courts-cages policy we have been employing. Harm 
reduction has repeatedly proven to be more effective and less costly.

Russell Barth

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