Pubdate: Wed, 17 Jan 2001
Source: Vancouver Sun (CN BC)
Copyright: 2001 The Vancouver Sun
Page: A15
Contact:  200 Granville Street, Ste.#1, Vancouver BC V6C 3N3
Fax: (604) 605-2323
Author: Alice Caldwell


I doubt that Constable Schneider's family and friends would agree with
Ms. Brooks's comment that "drugs, used the way he used them, really
cause very little harm at all." Such a comment dishonours all the man
lived for, based on what I've read about him.

My brother died of an overdose almost five years ago, on the day my
youngest child was born. Because of the nature of his death, I did not
tell many people.

I was not ashamed of him, but I did not feel able to deal with a new
baby, my own grief, and the judgments of others and the explanations
they might ask me to make. Let me assure Ms. Brooks that death
certainly constitutes harm.

I suspect her intent was sympathy, and that she might be attempting to
lay the ground work for decriminalization. If so, I probably agree.
But decriminalization should not mean that drugs are okay.

Decriminalization might help with the stigma and it would probably
eliminate drugs like China White, which most likely took my brother's
life, and certainly took the lives of street youth I formerly worked
with and cared about.

The other set of problems, having to do with the addiction itself,
would remain and require treatment. Overdose deaths would decline
under a more caring system, but they would not be eradicated. Ms.
Brooks, please choose your words more carefully.

Alice Caldwell

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