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Monday, June 02, 2008 

Conservative Ideology Will Speed The Death Of Drug Addicts

“We don't consider it the best health outcome to keep people in a position where they continue to use the illicit drugs, to inject the illicit drugs.”
Tony Clement
Minister of Health
Government of Canada

“The court has decided that the government cannot deny drug addicts access to the health care that they desperately need and that Insite provides,”
B.C. Civil Liberties Association

It has been my experience that individuals afflicted with a ‘conservative’ world view constantly try to apply simplistic solutions to extremely complex problems. No better example of this exists than the Harper administration’s policy on safe injection sites for the chronically addicted.

The Right Wing mind simply cannot get past the hurdle of this simplicity. To them, the policy formula for heroin addiction goes like this: ‘Heroin is bad - do not use it. If you use it - STOP!’

This sounds well and good and strikes a cord with those who have no knowledge or experience with addiction. There is no recognition of the psychological irrationality that is a symptom of hard core addiction. There is no recognition of the dynamics necessary for cessation of use. All there is to Conservative’s are cutesy little quips that resonate with their base support.

Conservative Party public policy concerning addiction is primitive, simplistic and will do nothing to stop the scourge of this terrible disease. They do not view addiction as a disease, rather, they see it as the result of 'bad' choices that require only 'good' choices to fix. The collective experience of addicts who have found a way to live without drugs indicates that there is no quick cure. Recovery is possible but only with a major coordinated effort of the addict, the medical profession and other recovering addicts.

Harper’s government will do nothing to alleviate this terrible disease. It will only add to the misery while right wing thinkers smugly ignore fact and medical science.

The very fact that police officers and their associations strongly argue that harm reduction sites are beneficial and should be maintained means nothing to Harper’s government.

To ignore the facts is ‘ignorance’. To Stephen Harper and his ideological ilk, ignorance is bliss.

Globe & Mail

... more Buckdog on this topic ...

It might help to remember that two-tier Tony Clement was minister of health in Ontario during the SARS crisis.

Then there was the situation with the nursing homes.

And not subsidizing off-tobacco schemes for those who try to quit.

The only reason he's in Ottawa is because of a measly 12 votes in Muskoka-Parry Sound. That's the cottage country for southern Ontario.

He had to go out of town to win a seat and questionably win it, come to that.

Why do his statements about harm reduction not surprise me?

David, I had forgotten about Clement's handling of the SARS crisis! Harper clearly made his choice for Health Minister carefully ensuring that an appropriate ideologue was selected!

"extremely complex problems"
The extremest complexest problem is between the ears of Liberals who think there has to be a difficult political or legal answer to every question.
The answer to drug addiction IS simple and not at all complex, its just not easy, so Liberals want to give out free drugs and needles.
I support drug treatment not giving drugs and needles and that's too complex for you to comprehend?
It's not a complex problem at all until the government which is mostly run by Liberals and left wing legal "experts" and "do-gooders" get involved.

Well said. Of all the issues out there I think conservatives/the Conservatives are more wrong and thick headed on drug policy than anything else

I want people to read what Hooey wrote here. This is exactly the reactionary, mindless crap that exemplifies what our Conservative government is all about these days. It is naive, simplistic, stupid, mean spirited and generally 'retarded'!

These are the folks who support Harper!

God help us!

As if we need another reminder that the Conservatives are deliberately long on ideology and short on intellect we have that goofy asshole Clement as HealthMin. He can't grasp the plain reality of safe injection sites and the harm prevention they afford. Grrrrr.

First of all, police officers and their associations do not "strongly argue that harm reduction sites are beneficial and should be maintained". Any police officers that I have personally spoken with are very much against the idea of insite and other harm reduction strategies.

"Tony Cannavino, the president of the Canadian Police Association, said the group, which represents 54,000 members, voted unanimously on a motion to press Ottawa to stop financing Vancouver's safe-injection site and invest in a national drug strategy instead.

As well, the province's RCMP spokesman this week said the site was problematic.

"We only support an injection site that would have as its approach the four pillars strategy, and that of course is harm reduction, education, prevention and enforcement. Does this particular program have those four pillars? It doesn't at this point," said Staff-Sgt. John Ward."

Furthermore, you can't honestly tell me that there isn't something wrong with the fact that 600,000 needles are given out annually in Prince Albert (population 40,000), or Saskatoon's 1.1 million needles or Regina 2.3 million needles? Surely you can see that something is amiss here. Right?

My knowledge of dealing with people that have addictions is that there has to be consequences for actions, otherwise there is no motivation for change. When you try to baby a person who has an addiction, by protecting them from the consequences of their actions, things generally worsen. This is from my direct observation from dealing with one person who has an addiction. Not an extensive history, I know, but it's something.

Adam, you siad, "My knowledge of dealing with people that have addictions is that there has to be consequences for actions, otherwise there is no motivation for change. When you try to baby a person who has an addiction, by protecting them from the consequences of their actions, things generally worsend."

That is an 'opinion, based on your philosophy - it is not SCIENCE! Those in the medical, psychiatric and police fields deal with facts and reality - you conservatives are using ideology in the decisions here!


'OTTAWA - Drug addicts would face "certain death" if a supervised injection site in British Columbia is closed, former police officers from Canada, Britain and Australia said Tuesday. Tony Smith of Vancouver, Tom Lloyd of Cambridge, England and Christopher Payne of Brisbane, Australia - all retired from their respective police forces - were endorsing Insite, the Vancouver based centre located in the city's troubled Downtown Eastside.

Retired cops from Britain, Australia, endorse Vancouver supervised-injection site

Retired officers head to Ottawa to fight for Insite

Buckdog, not everyone is into blind ideology. I say what I say because it's what I believe to be true based on the reading, studying that I have done. Be careful what you say about people that leave comments on your blog. You can't tell me that my 8 years of post-secondary education has left me factless, nor can you say that my experiences are devoid of reality. I know it's kind of your shtick to be over the top and 100% partisan in everything (at least I hope its a shtick) but you need to actually objectively consider things.

On that note, I ask you to consider the following. Perhaps drug addicts have decided to speed their own death by taking drugs in the first place. Addiction, once it is established is a disease, but drug use is not. Most addicts were never forced to take their first hit of heroin; there was a decision there at some point. I guess what it ultimately comes down to is that I wonder what good it does to watch somebody inject themselves safely with the substance that will eventually kill them? Like, what is the point?

ADAM: "Perhaps drug addicts have decided to speed their own death by taking drugs in the first place.

LEFTDOG: Maybe but that is a symptom of their disease - addiction is a mental illness as well as a physical dependency! Heroin addicts are SICK!!

ADAM: "... I wonder what good it does to watch somebody inject themselves safely with the substance that will eventually kill them? Like, what is the point?"

LEFTDOG: The goal is to reduce the harm as much as possible -transmission of infectious diseases and potential for overdose. By bringing addicts to a safe location they are exposed to a healthier environment that has resources available to assist them and to constantly chip away that there is a better way to live. Recovering addicts and Narcotics Anonymous is available to them at the site.

ADAM: "I know it's kind of your shtick to be over the top and 100% partisan in everything ..."

LEFTDOG: And I assume that you support the Conservatives whose shtick on the Bernier scandal, the Cadman scandal, the RCMP raid on Conservative headquarters is deny deny deny - which many would label as way over the top.

PS - Your obvious contempt for those with the disease of heroin addiction is shocking! Do you go to Church on Sunday and follow the compassionate teachings of someone named Jesus? "That which you do to the least of my brothers, that you do unto me"!

So, if I understand you correctly, are you saying that heroin addicts are sick/addicted before they even take their first hit of heroin?

I don't have any contempt for drug addicts. I feel bad that somehow they stepped onto the wrong trail, and would love to see them turn their life around. I just don't think that requires me to help them inject heroin or whatever substance they are harming/killing themselves with.

I would be curious to see how often the services of NA or counseling is utilized at a so called "safe" injection site. You support the idea very strongly and use that point to argue why you support the site, maybe you can answer that question?

I've actually been rather apolitical for the last while, and thankfully haven't wasted my time following the "scandals."

Adam, I have many years professional experience working with addicted people. Here are some things I's like to point out.

-Someone addicted to some anti-depressents, need to be placed in the hospital and continued on the same drug while the dosage is slowly and steadily brought down. Cold turkey (as many uninformed people call for) could result in DEATH!

- A.A. members who do emergency calls to someone who phone them for help, quite often have to administer a small amount of alchol to the addicted drinker so that they do not go into delerium tremens.

-Heroin addicts need specialized strategies to come off of heroin and to detox if / when they are ready.

-Heavy Cocaine addicts require special measures to deal with psychotic episodes involved with withdrawl and detox.

Conservative philosophy (which stresses 'personal responsibility') is all fine and well on paper ... when applied to drug addiction, it kills people!

I know all of those things buckdog, I have seen various types of alcohol prescribed to alcoholics in the hospital. I found out the other day that hospitals have a little LBS in their formularies. Craziness!

Anyways, I never said anything about cold turkey, and I don't remember reading that in any Conservative election platforms, so I am not sure where you are getting that from. What I did say is that merely helping drug addicts inject their drugs without treating their addiction does nothing to help them in the long run. Sure their needle was clean, and they don't have hepatitis or HIV, and they decrease the chances of infectious endocarditis, but it's just a matter of time before their addiction kills them. So, what's the use? The person is still suffering.

Sounds like you have no idea how often NA is utilized at insite hey? Me neither. I would hazard a guess that it is pretty rare though.

The facts are that these programs save the health care system millions annually. In fact, a recent report stated that the BC Liberal government could save as much as $600 million annually in police and health costs by providing the homeless and addicts with social housing and safe injection sites. The cost to provide shelter and services is about $35,000 per annum, as opposed to the current estimate of $75,000 per person. When incarceration costs are included the cost jumps to over $125,000 per person.

So, providing housing, clean needles and drugs for addicts/homeless would actually save BC taxpayers over half a billion dollars.

Why hasn't this been done?

Yay!!! Free drugs, needles and houses for everybody!!!!

So, you're saying that if we give people these things, then all of the sudden they won't cause any problems? Let's hide them away in government subsidized housing, and give them clean needles for their drugs, because otherwise they might get hepatitis or HIV and cost the health care system money. To me that is showing contempt for those struggling with drug addiction.

Adam, are you saying that letting them live on the street, steal to feed their habit and contract diseases from dirty needles is compassionate?

Now, that is taking rightard ideology to its absurd conclusion.

No Chad, there must be a happy medium there somewhere. Can't addicts be helped without a government employee injecting drugs into their veins (with clean needles mind you)? Compassion is helping people change when they have got themselves on the wrong trail.

"Compassion: sympathetic pity and concern for the sufferings or misfortunes of others"

As a society, rather than assisting drug addicts in their ways, lets help them change their ways.

Adam said, "As a society, rather than assisting drug addicts in their ways, lets help them change their ways."

Okay Adam .. put you money where your ideology is and TELL US how you as the Minister of Health would 'help them change their ways"?

Adam you are still trying to argue that professionals should model their treatment measures on your philosopy / ideology!

You are proving my point that a right wing thinker (which you are on this topic) simply can't get over the hurdle of logic in this matter!

I would probably divert funding away from the needle exchange program, which for some inexplicable reason doesn't exchange needles on a 1:1 basis, but don't get me started on that. And then I would fund a lot more short term detox beds than there currently are in our province so that people who are stoned/drunk don't have to take up a bed in the emergency room of a hospital with 2 police officers watching over them (not to mention the nurses/doctors/unsuspecting sick people in the next bed over). I would also increase the number of long term treatment centre placements, as those are also badly needed. None of these places would simply provide drugs/clean needles so that addicts simply continue on in their ways.

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