Pubdate: Thu, 19 May 2011
Source: Ottawa Citizen (CN ON)
Copyright: 2011 Mike Friis
Author: Mike Friis


Re: If a drug policy works, Harper wants nothing to do with it, May 18.

If these harm-reduction experiments -such as Insite in Vancouver 
- -prove to be useful, then why is there so much resistance?

Columnist Dan Gardner calls Prime Minister Stephen Harper to account 
for his defiance of the facts in this case, but of course it's a 
tendency we all share. Humans live in a wildly abstracted world -this 
makes the need to protect the oftenfaulty belief system that holds it 
all together of utmost importance, even to the detriment of facts, if 
they should threaten too much of the system.

So the resistance we see to evidence of harm-reduction strategies is, 
sadly, the same that saw Galileo condemned for what he witnessed in 
the night sky through his opera lenses. It's the same that saw 
Socrates condemned for "corrupting" (teaching the critical thinking 
that could threaten old beliefs) the youth of Athens.

If we pinpointed on a map all the people opposed to projects like 
Insite, the dots could be random (because unchecked prejudice could 
be random) except in one area: close to the sites. Close to the 
evidence, there are no disbelievers among the staff. Hopefully, it's 
clear that the staff and volunteers generally have one motive at 
places like this -that they care about these forgotten people. When 
they speak of answers that work we should listen, though it may take 
a different kind of defiance: a leap of reason.

Mike Friis, Ashton
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom