Pubdate: Wed, 03 Aug 2011
Source: Simcoe Reformer, The (CN ON)
Copyright: 2011 Sun Media
Author: Jerry Agar


One can't make the same argument to prove opposing

But Walter Cavalieri of the Canadian Harm Reduction Network

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

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

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

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.
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MAP posted-by: Richard R Smith Jr.