Pubdate: Thu, 12 Jul 2007
Source: National Post (Canada)
Copyright: 2007 Southam Inc.
Author: Gillian Maxwell


Re: 50 Years Of Drug Addiction, Susan Martinuk, July 10.

Susan Martinuk's polemic against harm reduction and maintenance 
treatment illustrates her failure to recognize the complexity and 
systemic nature of problems in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside. This 
community's issues have as much to do with poverty, housing, mental 
illness and legacies of colonialism (e.g., continuing fallout from 
residential schools) as they have to do with illegal drugs. Harm 
reduction programs are not magic bullets, but they do help keep 
people alive. This is important, as addiction treatment does not have 
much success with corpses.

Furthermore, treatment can take many forms. Providing tobacco smokers 
nicotine in chewing gum or skin patches is recognized as one of the 
most effective treatments to help overcome nicotine dependence. 
Vancouver's heroin prescription trial operates on exactly the same principle.

Gillian Maxwell, chairwoman, Keeping the Door Open: Dialogues on Drug 
Use, Vancouver.
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