Pubdate: Mon, 20 Feb 2017
Source: Vancouver 24hours (CN BC)
Copyright: 2017 Vancouver 24 hrs.
Author: Brent Stafford
Page: 5
Column: The Duel

This week's topic: Should hard drugs be legalized?


Ends always justify the means for those striving to do good, no matter
the cost to life, liberty and truth.

The truth about hard drugs, such as heroin, is blunt - it destroys
lives and it kills. With each injection, intravenous drug users on the
Downtown Eastside of Vancouver are slowly, sometimes quickly, killing
themselves. I believe these people are well aware of this fact. How
could they not? The risk of death is an ever-present danger that is
impossible for any hard-drug user to ignore, let alone plead ignorance.

Long before the fentanyl overdose crisis hard-drug users have been
dying on the streets and in alleyways and single-room social housing
in our city. It is why, over a decade ago, the Lower Mainland became
the first region in North America to open a safe-injection facility
known as Insite - to help prevent overdoses.

This effort has been a complete failure. Instead of promoting
abstinence, programs like Insite promote acceptance. Today, the
overdose problem is dramatically worse and the same activists that
gave us Insite are now agitating for decriminalization and eventual
legalization of hard drugs. The insanity must stop. Say no to legal

A few facts: My Duel colleague draws harm reduction parallels between
the use of the drug methadone as a replacement for opioids with the
use of nicotine patches for cigarettes. The comparison is misleading.
In the case of smoking and nicotine, it is the delivery system, the
combustible cigarette, that kills. Not the nicotine. However, in the
case of intravenous drug use, it is not the delivery system (i.e.
syringe) that kills, transmittable disease aside, it is the drug that
kills. The two are not equivalent.

Garth also cites the wonderful progress Portugal has made since the
country decriminalized possession of all drugs in 2001. Here, too, the
left's penchant for manufacturing truth reveals itself. Absolute drug
use in Portugal is up not down. According to the most recent data from
the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction, the total
amount of the percentage of people who have experimented with drugs at
least once in their lifetime climbed 4.2% between 2001 to 2007. Almost
every category went up: heroin from 0.7% to 1.1%; cocaine from 0.9% to
1.9%; amphetamines 0.5% to 0.9%. I could go on.

The hardest truth about hard-drug use is that it is a moral failing by
the individual user - and by society when it seeks to normalize it.

Brent Stafford is a veteran television producer and marketing 
specialist. His company works in the brand, 
entertainment and resource space.
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MAP posted-by: Matt