Safe Haven for Junkies
Salon.com has an in-depth feature tomorrow on Canada’s plans for safe-injection sites for addicts. “Canada’s Safe Haven for Junkies” is a strong, balanced piece which shows the realities of the world of the addict, along with the challenges of reducing the death, destruction and cost through methods other than failed supply-side interdiction and criminal prosecution. It’s an excellent balanced piece and is definitely worth a read.
The article points out successful programs of this type which have been conducted in other countries, and also reports on the fear with which our drug warriors in the United States view any attempt to find a new solution.
As soon as Vancouver’s planned site gained Canadian federal approval in late June, U.S. drug czar John Walters went off. “It’s immoral to allow people to suffer and die from a disease we know how to treat,” he told the Associated Press. “There are no safe-injection sites,” he added, calling the policy “a lie” and “state-sponsored personal suicide.” David Murray, special assistant in the U.S. Office of National Drug Control Policy, told the Vancouver Sun on May 2 that likely “unintended consequences” of the safe-injection site could force the U.S. to tighten border controls to prevent increased drug trafficking. That could, of course, negatively impact trade of all sorts…UCLA’s Kleiman offers a bit more tempered advice for a displeased Bush administration. “A really sensible U.S. government might say to Canada, ‘We think this is a really dangerous experiment, but if you’re crazy enough to try it in your neighborhood, God bless you, and we’ll watch,'” he says. “A scientific view of drug policy would say, ‘Here’s an opportunity for us to learn something.’ Of course, that’s not what I expect to see from Washington.”
For another personal view, check out this post by Last One Speaks (scroll down to “How Did I Get Here?”), which wrestles with the challenges many in the drug reform community must face when taking on the horrors of Heroin addiction.