Pubdate: Mon, 02 Dec 2002
Source: Vancouver Courier (CN BC)
Copyright: 2002 Vancouver Courier
Author: Robert Sharpe
Bookmark: (Heroin)
Bookmark: (Heroin Maintenance)
Bookmark: (Safe Injecting Rooms)


To the editor:

Re: "The Kerrisdale fix," Nov. 17.

Safe injection sites have been proven to reduce the spread of HIV without 
increasing drug use. Unfortunately, they do absolutely nothing to undermine 
the illicit heroin trade.

Attempts to limit the supply of illegal drugs while demand remains constant 
only increase the profitability of drug trafficking.

In terms of addictive drugs like heroin, a spike in street prices leads 
desperate addicts to increase criminal activity to feed desperate habits.

The drug war doesn't fight crime, it fuels crime.

Switzerland's heroin maintenance trials have been shown to reduce 
drug-related disease, death and crime.

Addicts would not be sharing needles if not for zero-tolerance laws that 
restrict access to clean syringes, nor would they be committing crimes if 
not for artificially inflated black-market prices.

Providing chronic addicts with standardized doses in a clinical setting 
eliminates much of the health and public safety problems associated with 
heroin use.

Heroin maintenance pilot projects are now underway in Germany, Spain and 
the Netherlands.

If expanded, prescription heroin maintenance would deprive organized crime 
of a core client base.

This would render illegal heroin trafficking unprofitable and spare future 
generations addiction.

Putting public health before politics may send the wrong message to 
children, but I like to think the children are more important than the message.

Robert Sharpe,

Program Officer - Drug Policy Alliance

Washington, DC
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