Pubdate: Wed, 03 Aug 2011 Source: Simcoe Reformer, The (CN ON) Copyright: 2011 Sun Media Contact: http://www.simcoereformer.ca/feedback1/default.aspx?e4=an_editorialemail Website: http://simcoereformer.ca/ Details: http://www.mapinc.org/media/2386 Author: Jerry Agar CRACK PIPES AND CRACKED ARGUMENTS? One can't make the same argument to prove opposing points. But Walter Cavalieri of the Canadian Harm Reduction Network tried. Cavalieri's argument, made on my Toronto radio show, is that the war on drugs has not worked, so we need a different approach. He favours facilitating drug users with free needles and crack pipes, along with medical assistance and supervision. But it seems that hasn't really worked, either. How do we determine that the war on drugs has not worked? By the fact drugs are still readily available and many people are addicted to them? A study done by the Urban Health Research Initiative at the B.C. Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS in '09 made the claim that the war against drugs failed to prevent a steep increase in the use of crack cocaine and crystal methamphetamine in Vancouver over the previous 10 years. So why can't the same accusation of failure be made about the handing out of free needles, and in some cities across Canada, crack pipes? Vancouver has been handing out clean needles since the '80s. Insite, a supervised injection site in that city, was created in 2003. Where is the success? Cavalieri says it is in overdoses prevented. Fair enough. But the war on drugs prevents more drugs on the street than would otherwise be there. And the illegality of hard drugs keeps many people from experimenting with them in the first place, as many -- perhaps most -- people will not participate in illegal activity. In other words, we can make apologies for either approach if we want to, but the fact remains that drugs are still a scourge while addicts are still destroying themselves and harming society in general. Cavalieri insisted the "war" on drugs has failed, but that given enough time, enabling addicts will make them quit their habit. You know, the way that raising taxes makes politicians quit spending. Insite, the "safe" injection site in Vancouver, has 12,000 people registered in its injection program. Supposedly the crack addicts are an additional group. In one city. QMI Agency's Paul Turenne reports that Winnipeg Regional Health Authority hands out about 2,000 crack kits per month, saying they get "disadvantaged clients" into the health-care system. But that doesn't mean off drugs. These programs do not provide the drugs. So how do addicts get their fix? Does the availability of clean needles and pipes suddenly turn addicts into fiscally responsible, crime-free individuals? Insite's web page reads, "Insite operates on a harm-reduction model, which means it strives to decrease the adverse health, social and economic consequences of drug use without requiring abstinence from drug use." During my conversation with Cavalieri he criticized society for its attitude toward crack users, but not the addicts for their self-destructive and anti-social behaviours. Like a demon possession, the addiction has taken over the person and is slowly killing the host. The person needs love, but these well-meaning programs are enabling the demon. By facilitating users and "loving" them to the degree that we in effect tell them what they are doing is OK and they are merely the victims of an otherwise uncaring society, what benefit do we bring to anyone? But perhaps I am wrong. In which case we should probably provide a safe environment for people addicted to huffing paint thinner. Ditto for those addicted to prescription drugs and child pornography. - --- MAP posted-by: Richard R Smith Jr.