Pubdate: Wed, 15 Dec 2004
Source: Winnipeg Sun (CN MB)
Copyright: 2004 Canoe Limited Partnership
Author: Matthew M. Elrod


Rev. Harry Lehotsky created a false dichotomy between treatment for drug 
addiction and harm reduction.

The Vancouver Plan, as unanimously endorsed by the Federation of Canadian 
Municipalities, calls for a balanced "four pillars" approach, with equal 
emphasis on prevention, treatment, harm reduction and law enforcement.

According to the auditor general, 95% of the federal drug control budget is 
allocated to law enforcement and interdiction. Provincial and municipal 
budgets are similarly skewed. Imagine a towering column surrounded by three 
foundation stones.

Contrary to Rev. Lehotsky's assertion that "the philosophical propaganda of 
harm reduction is betrayed by lack of practical proof," every major study 
of needle exchange programs has concluded that they reduce the spread of 
infectious diseases and the prevalence of discarded syringes without 
encouraging or increasing drug use. The evidence supporting methadone 
maintenance programs and supervised injection sites is also robust.

Faith, intuition and ideology are great for columns and sermons, but public 
policy should be based on sound evidence, tangible outcomes and realistic 

Matthew M. Elrod

Victoria, B.C. 
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MAP posted-by: Beth