Thursday, August 20, 2009


Read this headline and weep:

Heroin helps hard-core addicts in treatment: study

Addicts provided with heroin rather than methadone more likely to stay in treatment, less likely to use street drugs

The crazy German psychiatrist who heads up this dreadful piece of work has published his "findings"in no less that the New England Journal of Medicine, which automatically confers upon the nonsense some shmeer of legitimacy.

But look a the absurdity of the statement itself.

"Addicts provided with heroin will stay in treatment..."

These are mutually exclusive propositions.

You cannot be using heroin and be in treatment at the same time, folks. Has never happened, will never happened. Never saw it, never will see it.

And what effing treatment?

These ghouls will not tell us which treatment their guinea pigs are in, because there is none!

It is a shame that the press bothers to report this foolishness.

Next Wednesday I will fly to Winnipeg for a few days to visit the Behavioral Health Foundation, the residential treatment centre for addicts and others that for 40 years now had been churning out clean and sober citizens.

Oh yes, Margaret, there is treatment available in some remote corners of the known world.

But in these programs, heroin is not given or even discussed.

So, you argue, what about the incorrigible, the hard-to-help?

Glad you asked.

Here is Justice Wallace Craig's North Shore News editorial that addresses the very issue:


August 19, 2009

VANCOUVER’S Skid Road is a slummy end-of-the-line refuge for drug-addicted criminals.

Once a vibrant district, Skid Road is now overrun by junkie marauders who plunder law abiding citizens and merchants in a predictable pattern of violence and property crime.

Just deserts for these incorrigibles ought to be detoxification followed by a significant stretch in jail as pure punishment for their parasitical behaviour.

My suggestion that we get tough with Skid Road misfits will likely draw a cacophony of cluck-clucking from big-brother medical health officers and senior bureaucrats engaged in an Orwellian scheme to medicalize drug addiction.

Medicalization is simply an expedient way to transform the deviant moral and criminal behaviour of drug addicts into a non-deviant medical issue.

You may recall that since 2000, the City of Vancouver and the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority have engaged in pernicious campaign to neutralize criminalization of possession of illicit drugs. They unabashedly mislead the general public with the falsehood that drug addiction is: a particular kind of disease displaying special symptoms; that it is beyond personal agency and self-imposed abstinence; and, that it requires professional medical assistance under the aegis of an addictions bureaucracy.

They have adopted a stigma-neutral lexicon including words and definitions such as “problematic substance abuse” rather than “drug abuse”, and “illegal” for “illicit” to eliminate moral/ethical considerations.

It is indisputable that opiates are poisons; and it is equally a fact that there will always be rogue citizens who, regardless of the risk, want to narcotize themselves out of the uncertainties and rigours of daily life, even if it inevitably leads to life of crime and ill health.

In Romancing Opiates – Pharmacological Lies and the Addiction Bureaucracy, Dr. Anthony Daniels says that “medical consequences (of addiction), however terrible, do not make a disease.”

Before publishing Romancing Opiates in 2006, Daniels had worked 14 years as a doctor in a large general hospital in a British slum, and in an even larger prison nearby. During this period opiate addiction increased dramatically and Daniels began treating as many as 20 new cases a day. He witnessed a worsening of the problem even though drug clinics increased as did medication prescribed to addicts.

Based on his experience with addicts and his extensive reading, Daniels rejects the notion that opiate addiction is relatively instantaneous. He says that it requires determination to reach habitual use three or four times a day, and that “it is truer to say that the addict hooks heroin than that heroin hooks the addict. The active principle in the exchange is the person, not the drug, and the addiction is a freely chosen state: an obvious fact that is ignored by the addiction bureaucracy.”

In forming his opinion Daniels also relied on the experience of American soldiers during and after the Vietnam War: “Thousands of American soldiers, especially towards the end (of the war), addicted themselves to heroin. … What happened to them when they went home? Only one in eight of the addicts continued with his addiction after return to the United States, and by two and three years after their return, the addiction rates among those who had served were no higher than among those who qualified for the draft but did not serve in Vietnam.

“And what help or services did these thousands of addicts receive when the returned home? For all intents and purposes, it varied between very little and none. They simply stopped taking heroin and did not resume.”

When Skid Road’s drug addicts go about robbing and stealing to fund their purchases of illicit drugs, they are cunning, wily and mindful of what they are doing. They are not automatons.

The festering sore of Skid Road is a national disgrace. It is worse today than in 2000.

Parliament has the constitutional right to enact a Public Safety Act that would authorize police to arrest any person found in a public place in a state of incapacitation by illicit drugs, and to forthwith render that person to a justice of the peace for committal into a secure detoxification facility.

It’s high time to take back our streets and public places. So just do it, all you members of Parliament. – North Shore News – Aug 19/09


Anonymous said...

So this is how Cnds get help,
be a drug addict,prostitute,refugee.etc...
gets sold down the river.Again and again.
Thanks David,
for speaking on what you know.

I'm looking forward to my golden years in crack central.Just so I can get something back for living in this god-awful country!
sign me anonymous,because in this country freedom of speech,freedom of the press is BS!

Dave C. said...


I'm looking forward to learning more about your visit to the treatment facility in Winnipeg. I'm embarrassed to admit that I was unaware of the program even though I lived in Winnipeg until recently. A 40-year track record is certainly worth a close look. In my view, anything would be an improvement on our existing approach, which I would charitably describe as "benign neglect".

I characterize the situation that way because I can't believe that the various caregivers and agencies who have been involved with addicts in our community have intentionally withheld more effective treatment. I suspect that in this culture of "defer to the experts", rather than rely on our collective common sense and wisdom, we have pursued a strategy that is doomed to failure.

I don't claim to have a better strategy, but Dr. Daniel's observations concerning returning Vietnam veterans should tell us that removing drug users from a traumatizing and dangerous environment is an important, if not essential, first step on the path to recovery for many addicts. I am not claiming that the DTES is as lethal as a war zone, but it is clearly a toxic and unhealthy ghetto.

While here in Vancouver we would like drug addicts to be willing voluntarily to leave their unhealthy environment for a supportive and nurturing environment, we back away from forcible removal as a violation of someone's "rights". While I am glad that I live in a society that enshrines my "rights", I also know that our legal system does recognize that there are times when some individuals are a danger to themselves and possibly others and need to be placed in protective care.

It seems to me that what is really needed in this community is a pilot project based on the best practices that other communities have found helpful. Not only would it help to convince the general public that it is possible to restore addicts to a healthy lifestyle, but more importantly, it would help to convince those in the DTES that there is a voluntary way out of their despair.

As a lifelong NDP'er, I'm disappointed that the party here has not seized on this issue to galvanize public participation in a totally different approach to addictions. I think of someone like Jimmy Carter whose program ("Homes for Humanity", I think it was called) inspired many to volunteer their time and resources to make a difference in people's lives. Clearly, the present government does not see social problems as a priority. Difficult to see that changing when they have been elected three times on a fiscally conservative platform. Time for a new approach - even if it's promoted by a patchwork of concerned citizens. Calling all socially-oriented philanthropists out there to lead the way!

Dave C.

sean orr said...

How come nobody ever blames the justice department?