Pubdate: Mon, 9 Jun 2008
Source: Ottawa Citizen (CN ON)
Copyright: 2008 The Ottawa Citizen
Author: Harvey Davey


Re: Deal with addicts' problems rather than funding safe sites, June 4.

I have admiration for anyone who works with the homeless, the poor and
addicts so I have great respect for letter-writer Andre Bigras and his
work. But I disagree with his analysis of what harm reduction does.

He says it "only ensures the addictive behaviour continues." If that
were the case, the professionals and volunteers working at Insite in
Vancouver would not support it.

Yet they and the people of Vancouver do. They know what it was like
before Insite. A visit to Vancouver's Downtown Eastside is Mr Bigras'

Perhaps he might read some of the research as columnist Dan Gardner
has, rather than jump to support Health Minister Tony Clement's drug

Mr. Clement's "new" strategy was government policy when I was involved
in drug education and addictions counselling during the 1990s. Nothing
is "new" with this current government. As Mr. Gardner points out in
his columns repeatedly, the big bucks still go to enforcement.

I am quite familiar with prevention strategies. Most have been and
continue to be based on fear. The deadliest drug for all age groups in
Canada is alcohol. If Mr. Bigras checks the Ontario Student Use Drug
Surveys over the last 30 years, he will find that most kids use
alcohol and try other drugs during their high school years. Prevention
has not been working. How will closing Insite help anyone? It saves
lives and that beats the alternative of closing it.

Harvey Davey,

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