Pubdate: Fri, 01 Dec 2000
Source: Vancouver Sun (CN BC)
Copyright: The Vancouver Sun 2000
Contact:  200 Granville Street, Ste.#1, Vancouver BC V6C 3N3
Fax: (604) 605-2323
Author: Evan Wood
Bookmark: Items related to the Vancouver plan and the Sun's series 
Searching for solutions - Fix on the Downtown Eastside


Do they perpetuate misery or offer relief and hope?

Michael Theil is right that providing heroin and safe injection sites
"makes about as much sense as providing free booze to alcoholics"
(Drug-plan pessimism, Letters, Nov. 23).

Alcoholics, like those addicted to other drugs, have been known to
forego all else to satisfy their body's unbearable cravings. Imagine
(or remember) the chaos if alcohol were no longer cheaply and safely
provided by the state.

Sadly, you do not have to imagine. In the Downtown Eastside, the
conventional strategies aimed at combatting illicit drugs are a
well-documented failure with horrific consequences.

Among addicts, epidemics of hepatitis C and HIV have raged. I hope
those who are ignorant enough to oppose harm reduction will consider
the plight of these people, and the successful implementation of this
approach in Europe.

For those who remain unmoved, I urge them to investigate the tax
burden created by our current approach. The costs of enforcement are
astronomical. The same is true of the health care costs. For instance,
the per-person costs of anti-HIV medications are more than $10,000
annually.  Congratulations to Mayor Philip Owen and others who have
the courage to advocate these urgently needed alternative approaches.

Evan Wood, B.C. Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS 
- ---
MAP posted-by: Richard Lake