Pubdate: Wed, 15 Jun 2005
Source: Goldstream Gazette (CN BC)
Copyright: 2005 Goldstream Gazette
Author: Matthew M. Elrod
Bookmark: (Safe Injecting Rooms)


Re: Safe Injections In Victoria, by Tom Fletcher, Jun 8.

The term "safe injection site" is no more deceptive nor inaccurate than the
term "safety belt."  Neither provides complete and total safety, they merely
save lives.

Yes, overdose deaths rose in Vancouver, (from 41 in the first half of 2003
to 44 in the first half of 2004), after they opened an injection site,
however, overdose deaths rose around the world at the same time, largely due
to the increased availability of Afghan opium following the U.S. overthrow
of the Taliban. No deaths occurred at the injection site.

Tom Fletcher asserted that "This [harm reduction] approach doesn't help
people get off drugs. It helps them keep using." And safety belts do not
encourage motorists to use rapid transit. Helping users to quit is the goal
of treatment, one of the other "four pillars" of drug control.

The goal of injection sites is to "reduce harm" and to provide users with a
"low threshold" doorway off of the streets and back into our social support
systems.  The Vancouver site is being closely monitored by a team of
scientists who will report their findings in about two years. If the site
prevents two people from contracting HIV then it will have paid for itself.

In 2001 the Auditor General reported that the federal government spends
about $500 million dollars annually on drug control. 95 per cent is
allocated to law enforcement, 70 per cent to enforcing cannabis laws. There
is no evidence, (nor even a mechanism in place for gathering it), that law
enforcement is doing any good whatsoever.

The bottom line is that, when the other pillars of prevention, treatment and
law enforcement fail, I would rather find my family and friends alive in an
injection site than dead in an alleyway. I guess Mr. Fletcher does not
anticipate anyone he cares about becoming a drug addict.

Matthew M. Elrod 

- ---
MAP posted-by: Josh