Pubdate: Thu, 19 May 2011
Source: Globe and Mail (Canada)
Copyright: 2011 The Globe and Mail Company
Author: Pearl Bader


Margaret Wente provides not only a simplistic view of a complex issue,
but an irrelevant argument in the debate about whether or not
Vancouver's supervised drug injection site, Insite, should exist.
Enlightened public discourse on addictions needs to incorporate both
the complexity of the problem and multiple channels through which
behaviour change occurs.

As Ms. Wente asserts, many people are able to quit drugs and quit
smoking (some "cold turkey," others through counselling or
nicotine-replacement therapies), just as some people are able to
mitigate the effects of diabetes and heart disease through diet and

But there is a group of high-risk individuals who are unable to quit
drugs or smoking, due to many factors, some of which may include
having a psychiatric disorder or low socioeconomic status.

Should we be satisfied that a great majority of people have been
successful in quitting alcohol, drugs, and tobacco and ignore the ones
who continue? Or do we continue to make concerted efforts to reduce
the harm of these substances for "the hardest of the hard cases?"

Pearl Bader, Toronto 
- ---
MAP posted-by: Richard Lake