Tuesday, November 6, 2007

More Strong Commentary on Addictions

"And real treatment is cheap. Real treatment does not need doctors and nurses"

Another one of the damaging myths being pushed by the DTES' addict advocacy industry (InSite, Vandu, the Portland Hotel Society, etc) is that expensive, residential, Cadillac-grade treatment centers with 24-hour medical support will result in more addicts going clean. A recent report on England's addiction services (http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/news/article-23418863-details/%C2%A31.9m+bill+to+help+just+ONE+drug+addict+kick+the+habit/article.do) showed that while funding rose 50% over the previous year (to an annual investment of 384 million pounds in 2006), successful graduates of treatment programs rose by only 1.2 percent. (Note that this program uses "addiction management" techniques such as drug substitution.)

The DTES addict advocacy industry can endlessly claim that not enough money is being spent on treatment services and facilities. They neglect to mention that most treatment programs are ineffective. As you say, David, the most effective programs are inexpensive peer-group support - because the people that take part in these programs are personally motivated to get clean, instead of motivated to continue their addictions through drug provisioning and substitution.

To get people motivated to get clean, Vancouver needs to stop pandering to its addicts - allowing them to hide behind the excuse of (self-inflicted) mental illness; allowing them to evade legal responsibility; allowing them to act with impunity. Vancouver needs to stop supporting junkies and the junkie lifestyle, and instead make it difficult to be a drug addict in Vancouver, thus motivating people into taking responsibility for their own addiction, treatment and recovery.

The Facts About Harm Reduction, from Steve

Good response, David. Keep up the good fight.

I run into this all the time: "Law enforcement created the problem. Harm reduction is the answer."

It sounds bogus to me, so I had a look at the numbers. On the one hand, we have Vancouver, which has been actively pursuing primarily "harm reduction" methods since 1989. On the other, we have New York City, which has been actively pursuing law enforcement initiatives since 1989. New York now has three times as many cops per thousand residents as Vancouver.

In 1990, the crime rates in BC were a bit higher than what they were in New York City. 1990 is the worst year in New York's history since 1963 (which is as far back as I could find records online).

Crime rates have gone down up BC slightly (about 2%) while they have fallen dramatically in NYC (about 70%).

In the past three city administrations (who were the most outspoken advocates of "harm reduction", Vancouver's violent crime rate has slowly risen. HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis C have skyrocketed (from about 3% of needle users to 30% and 90% respectively).

Vancouver now has a 13% higher violent crime rate than New York City EVER did. And our property crime rate is fairly steady at 30% higher than New York at its worst.

And since the "Safe" injection site has opened, the overdose death rate has gone up in Vancouver, while it has gone down in the rest of the province.

One of the most significant reductions in crime we've seen in recent years has been auto theft (-30%), due mainly to the bait car program, A LAW ENFORCEMENT INITIATIVE.

The record clearly shows that law enforcement works and "harm reduction" doesn't.

Incidentally, I'm enclosing "harm reduction" in quotes for more than just the obvious reason that it's not actually reducing any harm. In some jurisdictions, "harm reduction", by definition, includes "reducing the supply of drugs". In Vancouver, the definition has been altered to mean "enabling and medically supporting drug use".

To Michael

This is what a commentor wrote to me:

"David you are approaching this only from the addicts point of view. (i.e. what will work to cure them) The "harm reduction" argument represents taxpayers who are fed up having their homes and cars broken into and having their tax dollars going to pay for cops and jails to arrest and incarcerate these people. It is, hopefully a first step toward full legalization of all these substances. My primary concern lies not with the addict but with the cost that addiction places on the rest of us. Addiction is a social problem as well as a personal health issue. 100 years of prohibition has created, not solved, this problem. "

This is my reply:

I am NOT approaching this from the addicts point of view. Nothing could be further from the truth. I am approaching this from the point of view of a citizen.

You think that harm reduction actually reduces break-ins to cars and homes? You poor sap. You don't understand addictions at all and you've swallowed whole the pseudo-science and inflated stats of the harm reduction apologists.

After the dope fiends get their free dope, free needles, comfy places to shoot up, etc...what do you think they do, Michael?

Go to Physics class or viola rehearsal?

Because they only want MORE AND MORE AND MORE, they go into the back alleys from which they came and shoot more illegal drugs using the money they got from selling YOUR STUFF THAT THEY ROBBED FROM YOUR HOME AND CAR.

You think break-ins in cars and homes have shrunk since harm reduction? Ha! They have skyrocketed.

Ask Sun Editor Daphne Braham, who used to write so eloquently about the glories of Harm reduction..until about 2 years ago, when her condo became a regular target for drug addict break-ins. Now she writes from a slightly different perspective.

Ask the cops who witness this madness every day.

And finally, I am many things in life. But the LAST category in which I view myself is a taxpayer. If I had to make all my decisions based on the fact that I am a taxpayer above all, I'd quickly part this sorrowful world.

You are looking, like everyone else, for that magic Silver Bullet answer. It is a never-to-be-satisfied unholy and unhopeful viewpoint.

I am looking at this problem in terms of what will work for me and you and my neighbours and addicts.

But thanks for telling me what I'm doing. Without your help, how could I get out of bed in the morning?