Pubdate: Sat, 11 Feb 2017
Source: Toronto Sun (CN ON)
Copyright: 2017 Canoe Limited Partnership
Author: Dr. W. Gifford-Jones
Page: 44


Last week, I wrote that unless we use Singapore's solution to hang
drug pushers, we will never defeat the opioid epidemic in North
America. This week, a strong response from readers.

A police officer in a major Canadian city writes, "Thank you for the
temerity to write this column. I wonder why we have a law that says a
drug is illegal, yet the law supervises injection sites to consume
illegal drugs!" He adds, "Unfortunately our law makers do not have the
gonads to protect citizens against flagrant abuses. Thanks for your
valued columns."

A reader of the Victoria Colonist says, "I too have been in Singapore.
I recently talked with a medical student who was horrified I supported
hanging drug dealers. He wanted life imprisonment, but why pay for
their room and board? Unfortunately, our society uses band aid solutions."

P.M., "I hate drug dealers who cause death. You are bang on and those
of us who work in education will send along our vote. It's refreshing
to hear someone telling it the way it is. Our taxes should not be
wasted on these people."

 From Kelowna B.C.,"We are well on the way to a medical tsunami. These
injection sites are nothing more than drug facilitation centres."

J and T echoed what many readers responded, "Traffickers should be
given the death sentence as they are mass killers."

But not all readers sent me roses. C.K. writes," I usually agree with
your no-nonsense view. But what about the role played by doctors and
pharmaceutical companies in opioid addiction? Should we put these
people to death as well?"

Other critics said, "Why don't we stop helping people with heart
disease, diabetes and lung cancer? After all, they usually cause their
own destruction."

A.D. drove the knife in deeper when he replied, "Your strong opinions
do not necessarily mean that you are morally superior to others who
differ from you. Please stop trying to force others to follow your
moral code and practice a little tolerance."

But over 90% of readers sent their approval and were grateful that I
would be their voice. I hope I can continue to do so. But I respect
those who disagreed. I thanked many for sending along their criticism.

I think the ministers of health and justice could learn a lot from
reading these e-mails. For instance, from Nanaimo, B.C. "I strongly
object to my money being spent on free needles and free injection
sites for addicts. Why should we support them? Don't they understand
that drugs kill? The politicians and do-gooders are building
themselves lucrative empires. Let's arrest any drug dealer and inject
them with Fentanyl! The money saved could be spent on low-cost housing
for the homeless."

One reader sent along this cutting remark, "Bravo for speaking out
about supervision programs. There's a saying that organized crime of
sufficient size is indistinguishable from government!"

Others worried that today there is no such thing as personal
responsibility. And that the remark of Singapore's authorities that
North Americans had become "irresponsibly permissive" was putting it

Many readers also responded to my complaint of inadequate medical
assistance to the dying (MAID).

C.A. writes, "Society's laws and mores need to change, and quickly.
Not only will we need to accept a person's desire to end life. We will
also have to accept it for more reasons than just terminal illness.
The elderly, the frail, the dependent will have to be given the right
to change their condition. Many of these people would choose to leave
this planet if allowed to do so. I am devastated to think of the
burden this society is placing on our grandchildren. They will sink
with debt unless things change."
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MAP posted-by: Matt