Friday, December 09, 2005

This is where Liberalism leads. Vancouver Health officials operate a facility for heroin injection. No, I am not kidding. The facility opened in 2003 as a test site, and its operators now want to make it permanent. They even want to add additional clinics to meet high demand. Pun intended.

The clinic oversees 800 heroin injections daily. The Chief Medical Officer of British Columbia said "It's all-round positive, with no downsides." Many of you would count 800 heroin injections per day as a downside.

The clinic is located in the Downtown Eastside District of Vancouver. More than 5,000 heroin addicts live there in a 10 block area. Here is a downside. Do you think you can walk down the street at night there and be safe? This neighborhood is Canada’s poorest. It is hard to be rich when you shoot up constantly.

The theory is that they will reduce overdose deaths, hepatitis and HIV. The addicts buy their own drugs and bring them. It is still illegal to buy heroin. Then, they inject themselves in the clinic, under “medical supervision”. If they overdose, there are emergency services. There are about 50 of these in Europe. That explains a lot to me.

You see, in Europe and Canadian, they view drug addiction as a health issue primarily, rather than a criminal issue. So, the government now wants to operate its own opium den so that it is safer than the privately owned one. The next thing Vancouver wants to experiment with is free prescription heroin. This is to reduce crime. Heroin addicts are less likely to kill you for your wallet if they can get their narcotic for free.

It also keeps addicts off the streets. Vancouver is known for having thousands of addicts shooting up right there on the street. Addicts also tend to litter. Therefore, Vancouver is also known for the syringes left lying around on the street, the park and in the libraries. Police have started to crack down on such public use. This was met by protest, of course. Advocates for the addicts said the police crackdown is cruel because the clinic can only serve some of the many addicts. I feel a tear coming on.

"It's just a really destructive thing," said Ann Livingston of the Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users.

Not only that, but the clinic is discriminatory. No place is provided for those who smoke their coke or heroin, rather than inject it. The poor things just have to find their own places to inhale narcotics into their drug addled brains.

I guess it is cheaper to open clinics and let people kill themselves than it is to conduct the war on drugs as we have done in the United States. However, it is painful to think you just write these people off as addicts and help them stay there. It sounds a lot like financial welfare: the government gives you money to stay of sight. You can take it if you have no self respect and are willing to continue in your pitiful state.

I am grateful that God kept me from trying heroin, LSD, marijuana or cocaine as it swirled around the campuses of the ‘70s. I hate to think I might be cowering in an alley, sticking a dirty needle into my arm and waiting for a rush that is never as good as the last one.
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