Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Saskatchewan won't get safe-injection sites

CBC News - Saskatchewan - Saskatchewan won't get safe-injection sites

Okay, let's follow the logic again...

IV Drug use begets needle exchange programs, which in turn begets higher IV drug use, which begets more junkies not caring about their own conditions which begets higher incidence of blood born diseases which begets safe injection sites which begets higher crime statistics in the area around the safe injection site and higher drug use.

The problem is that any of these "fixes" are a bandage solution.

I note on the above post that my comment about more counseling and less needles (May 16, 5:38pm) handed out and promptly got more dislikes than likes. Fair enough but when all is said and done, the people that "disliked" that comment are the ones that don't care about fixing the problem. They are the ones that feel more MUST be better. That more MUST lead to better results. That more money, more needles, more safe havens for drug users, more of everything but a counseling session MUST be the best thing for all those poor drug users.

Well you know what? I'm tired of that logic - sometimes less is better. The fact is that the drug users don't care if they get help, they only care about their next fix, and they will continue on that path when they hit bottom. They can't hit bottom if someone is constantly there to stop them before they hit bottom.

Sometimes the best help you can give a person is to walk away and let them figure it out on their own. Tough to do, tougher if they are family, but in the end, they will thank you for it.


  1. That might make a little bit of sense if we indeed walk away and treat adults like adults rather than children who are not only incapable of making their own decisions, but also assumed to not be able to form that capability in the future. Your post may have gotten a bunch of dislikes because of the holes in your logic.

    Safe injection sites aren't about facilitating use, increasing the number of users or increasing rates of infection among HIV/AIDS, Hep C and other patients. Safe injection sites are about a sane and rational approach to problematic drug abuse. Unless you're advocating that drug prohibition be completely repealed, you're suggestion that the state just walk away seems grossly inconsistent. "Walk away, lock em up and punish them" doesn't actually make any sense, even as a random statement.

    Consider this. Saskatoon currently is home to the highest rate of HIV/AIDS infection in the entire country. Saskatchewan as a whole ain't doin' so hot on that stage either. It's easy to say that this is confined mostly to sex trade workers and injection drug users (this is where the spike has been observed) but we can't ignore that this is a nearly certain historical demonstrable precursor to HIV/AIDS infection rate increases in more affluent pockets of the population. You can't bury your head in the sand and proclaim that those who drive a Lexus about will never cross paths with the shopping cart pilots of the downtown core. The fewer injection drug users you have sharing needles while high, the less the chance of other pockets of the population being exposed to infections plain and simple.

    Safe injection sites have nothing to do with encouraging people to use drugs or even really with providing a "nice" place to do it. The central focus is on educating injection drug users about their habit. A great number of injection drug users are grossly unaware of the dangers of their habit and on the street, no one will refer them to treatment or educate them as to why it will benefit them. Worse still, no one will educate them about their habit and ho to avoid the preventable ill effects of injection drug use. A street outreach program can only do so much in that environment and pales in comparison to what a safe injection site can provide.

    Consider that f a single user is educated and influenced in such a way that they do not infect themselves with HIV/AIDS, a safe injection site is paying for itself in spades. In a world where we pay for universal health care, HIV/AIDS patients cost us many more times the amount it costs to have a supervised facility for them to safely inject drugs throughout their lifetime whether it's short or extended.

    Consider also that at the Vancouver safe injection site Insite, no one has ever died of overdose. With nurses on staff, lives have been saved that would otherwise have expired. It's easy to dismiss a junkie as a useless waste of skin but that's some one's son or daughter. becoming detached and cold about an issue that kills isn't a rational or compassionate solution.

    This is not a band aid solution. It's a very rational approach to reducing a social ill that plagues us because of drug prohibition. A band aid solution is tossing some one in jail; a solution we seek far too often. Actually drug prohibition in general is a band aid solution and I can't think of any better example than the near hundred year history of it here in North America.

    I'm sorry but your logic strikes me as ridiculous because I can see the same rationale being applied to sexual health clinics. At one time after all, we were told that rather than educate homosexuals about sex in a clinic, we were better off to just outlaw sodomy. It's a tired and inflexible way of thinking that I certainly can't "like."

  2. Basically what I am saying Zack, is that a different approach may be appropriate. I am saying that junkies don't need more needles, they need a little bit of common sense.

    Your analogy about homosexuality is interesting, especially considering you are equating it to a destructive addiction. The fact is that these people need addictions counseling more than they need MORE needles. In the end, these people ARE adults, and they do have a choice. They don't need people helping them to make the wrong choice, they need people educating them as to how to make the right one.

    And for the record, your comments on drug prohibition are interesting and not necessarily out of line with my own thoughts, but the fact remains that Canada can't decriminalize until the US does so as well. Quite frankly, I don't want all the drug users to come here, and I don't want it to destroy the relationship between the two countries.

  3. This notion that in order to legalize or repeal prohibition that the states has to do it first is asinine if not patently cowardly. Our trading relationship with the United States constitutes the single largest bilateral trading relationship on the entire planet and you think drug legalization will jeopardize that? Here's a silly thought, when John Walters (former Drug Czar) made that impotent threat, he was no more influential in developing domestic trading policy than he is today as a political dinosaur. Gil Kerlikowskie is just about as much a heavy weight as he was.

    I'm not equating homosexuality to a destructive addiction; rather, I am pointing out that our personal health should be treated with enlightened thinking rather than denial and ignorance. What on earth is your common sense solution if not treatment referral and education? As I said in my own blog post, a safe injection site is about as much an enabler of injection drug use as a sexual health clinic is an enabler of bondage. Sexual health isn't about sex, it's about educating people and providing them with the tools to remain safe. A safe injection site isn't about injecting drugs, it's about providing injection drug users with the education and tools needed to remain safe.

    You say that injection drug users need people educating them as to how to make the right choice. May I ask how you expect that to happen under a tire swing? I'm sorry but I believe your position to be buried in denial and ignorance. This notion that we have to follow the states rather than lead anyone has entrenched that opinion.

  4. I should say that I skipped over domestic legalization and tourists. It's absolutely a possibility that someone will come here from the States and elsewhere to spend $50 on weed and $4,000 on hotels, restaurants and local merchants. I agree, the prospect is horrifying.

    Now...where's the rolly eyes emoticon...

  5. Were my other two comments here deleted? Poor form if they were bud. Your main page says there are four comments on this post and only two are showing.

  6. Right on! *flashes peace sign and disappears into the distance riding a saddled overgrown marmit*