Pubdate: Thu, 08 Mar 2018
Source: Lethbridge Herald (CN AB)
Copyright: 2018 The Lethbridge Herald
Author: Tom Johnston
Page: A6


Jason Kenney stated recently that the best way to combat drug addition
in general, and the opioid crisis in particular, is by controlling
supply. This demonstrates that he is little more than a cynical,
career politician. He will say whatever he thinks will resonate with
his base in the hope of becoming the next premier.

Mr. Kenney has routinely prostrated himself at the alter of the free
market, and is one who regards state intervention in the economy as
devil's work. He knows that where there is a demand, entrepreneurs
will invest capital with the aim of meeting that demand. In light of
well-established and widely accepted market theory, Mr. Kenney should
know - as I suspect he does - that the best way to address crises such
as the one we are witnessing is to also address the demand side of the

Safe-injection sites save lives. And a number of cost-benefit analyses
have shown that safe-injection sites are cost-effective. Just as
importantly, however, safe-injection sites afford committed and
welltrained medical professionals the opportunity to engage directly
with people, apprising them of the various treatment options, arguably
limited, aimed at addressing not just drug use but underlying
circumstances also.

If Mr. Kenney wants to attack the value of the safe-injection site
model, he needs to pick up his game. He needs to present us with more
than empty rhetoric, sound bites and vacuous tweets. It is my
responsibility as a citizen, and in my self-interest, to support a
just and civil society, in part through my tax dollars. In return, I
expect public officials, including career politicians, to present
policy options for debate that are theoretically sound, well thought
through, and evidence based. In my view, Mr. Kenney must meet this
standard before he is a serious contender.

Tom Johnston

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