Pubdate: Thu, 15 May 2003
Source: Aldergrove Star (CN BC)
Copyright: 2003 Central Fraser Valley Star Publishing Ltd.
Author: Robert Sharpe
Note: Headline supplied by MAP editor


Editor, The Star:

MP Randy White has some valid concerns regarding Vancouver's safe-injection 
site. His tough-on-drugs solution, however, is misguided.

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.

Safe-injection sites are merely a step in the right direction.

In addition to reducing the spread of HIV and the incidence of overdose 
deaths, safe-injection sites serve as a bridge to drug treatment for an 
especially hard to reach population. Unfortunately, they do absolutely 
nothing to undermine the volatile heroin trade.

The only way to eliminate street-level drug dealing is to make it 
unprofitable. Switzerland's heroin maintenance trials have been shown to 
reduce drug-related disease, death and crime among chronic users.

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 problems associated with heroin use.

The success of the Swiss trials has led to pilot heroin maintenance 
programs 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 of 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.

Program Officer, Drug Policy Alliance, Washington, DC
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MAP posted-by: Keith Brilhart