Pubdate: Tue, 21 Jun 2016
Source: Packet & Times (CN ON)
Copyright: 2016 Orillia Packet and Times
Author: Dr. W. Gifford-Jones
Page: C1


Eureka! Recently I reported it was impossible to write this column. I
had asked readers to respond to how I believe 42,000 addicts on
methadone should be treated. Then my computer developed terminal
cancer and I thought all your responses had been lost. Fortunately,
the "Geek Squad" resurrected them.

 From a Times Colonist reader, "Your suggestion that sending addicts to
northern Canada to chop wood caught my eye. I was impressed by your
research. The addicts I have known have no interest in getting off
methadone and improving themselves. I say, enough of this nonsense.
Why not have them chop wood? We all do some form of work to eat."

This reader then added, "I initially believed that the practice of
hanging drug dealers in Singapore was too extreme. But on further
thought I'd hang them myself if they gave heroin to my healthy
innocent granddaughters."

BL writes, "I have been employed as a correctional officer since 1980.
In those days heroin addicts would be placed in the medical unit
without methadone. They had a few painful days, but were then back to
normal. You are right that doctors see a financial windfall and will
not stop using methadone. The whole system is wasting taxpayers' money
and the government seems oblivious to it."

BR says, "I don't reply to columns, but feel compelled this time. I
strongly disagree with methadone clinics and our permissive attitude
to drug lords. In yesterday's newspaper Philippine president elect
urged the public to kill drug dealers. I'm friends with many police
officers who say our system is broken in favour of the bad guys. I say
thugs should be put on display at City Hall. Your article hits an
important issue that we must all be responsible for our actions."

 From Thunder Bay, "Bravo to your article. The drug industry will be
mortified by this column. Methadone is just swooping one drug for
another. As you stated no one has died from drug withdrawal, but
millions have died from drug usage. Keep up the good work."

PD says, "My wife and I always look forward to your columns. I met the
director of the Vancouver Narcotics Addiction Foundation who explained
the methadone program to me. It has always seemed absurd to me. It's
just a legal dependency being substituted for an illegal addiction.
I'm pleased you have blown the whistle."

 From Courtenay, B.C. "We agree 100 percent with your opinion. We don't
try to cure alcoholics with free liquor and the same reasoning should
apply to drug addiction which taxpayers are forced to pay. And my
thanks to all the good medical advice you pass along."

But I was taken to task by some readers. H.M. says, "I read with
dismay your recent column. What has happened to your compassion? Is
your solution punishment for every addiction, alcohol, cigarettes,
food? Wouldn't the doctor's credo of 'do no harm' apply to addiction?"

Another writes, "Punishing drug addicts is a very outdated theory.
Addiction is a disease of the brain. Punishment should be doled out to
doctors who carelessly write opiate prescriptions."

W.T. says, "I enjoy the wisdom of your columns. But I was disappointed
to discover a fascist streak in your personality. Like a la Hitler and
probably Trump, you are not a supporter of human rights. Personally I
believe drug use should be legalized and if anyone steps over the line
they then face the criminal system, and yes chop wood. Having said
this, keep up your excellent column, warts and all."

The column certainly rang a bell as some readers sent me 800-word
replies. The majority deplored today's politically correct actions of
offering free drugs, needles, places to shoot up and promoting the
victim, "poor you," mentality. Others were amazed 42,000 addicts were
being treated with methadone in a single province at great expense.
Still, others were appalled at seeing addicts lined up at their local
drug store to get their daily fix.

I would like to thank those who took the time to respond. And, of
course, my thanks to the Geek Squad for saving the day.
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MAP posted-by: Matt