Pubdate: Thu, 12 May 2005
Source: Mirror (CN QU)
Copyright: 2005 Communications Gratte-Ciel Ltee
Author: Stephen Heath


As a recovered abuser of a number of abusive drugs (clean 11 years
now), I echo the sentiments of letter writer Tyson Campbell ["Free
heroin worth a shot," Letters, April 28].

Based on my experience working with heroin and opiate abusers in
treatment and recovery settings, I would humbly rebut the myth that
harm-reduction programs enable and/or encourage heroin use. Contrary
to the ideas put forth by some anti-drug zealots, every opiate abuser
I've ever met was not interested in perpetual use. They were all
seeking a viable way to get clean from the destructive cycle of use.
However, each person has their own time lag to quit. For some, that
can come quickly, while for others it may take several months or even
a couple years.

But make no mistake; every user will eventually stop, because
perpetual use of opiates is almost impossible physically. Therefore,
while patiently working with those abusers trying to quit, we benefit
as a community if we reduce the peripheral damage. Most commonly that
is disease unwittingly passed by dirty needles and the un-needed fatal
overdoses that are assured with impure and adulterated street product.

It's possible to overcome a drug addiction. It's of course impossible
to overcome a case of HIV, or a case of hepatitis C that can be
generated by use of dirty syringes.

Have mercy on the abuser. He was once clean like you and he can be
that way again, provided he lives long enough.


Clearwater, FL USA
- ---
MAP posted-by: SHeath(DPFFLorida)