Tuesday, December 22, 2009


And verily I say unto you...



It is a peculiar day today, a puzzling day.

The skies are clear and sunny here in Vancouver, but there is a deep dark cloud hovering over us all.

It is this:

Landmark heroin study set to begin in Vancouver

This very expensive and very sick madness is being hailed as something that will "transform lives" and "treat the root cause of homelessness on the Downtown Eastside."

It is the Silver Bullet that all the fools have been looking for lo these many unproductive, destructive years.

O.K. Enough with the rhetoric.

What is it?

SALOME is the Study to Assess Longer-term Opiod Medication Effectiveness.

In this so-called study, 322 chronic addicts will be given heroin and heroin pill substitutes at a private clinic.

This program is run by an organization that calls itself with no shame or irony the "InnerChange Foundation."

Little question.

How does taking free heroin or a heroin replacement constitute "inner change?"

Inner change requires investigation and hard work and honesty and commitment. It is not an easy road. It is not found by showing up at a "clinic" once a day for your free fix.

A woman named Trish Walsh is the Executive Director of InnerChange.

Her qualifications are what exactly?

Her knowledge of addicts and addictions comes from what experience, please?

The people she has helped number how many and are named what?

But listen to Trish Walsh's voice of authority:

“This could revolutionize heroin treatment internationally."

By the way, this "treatment" - and it in no way qualifies as a "treatment" - is to run for four years.

And yet, as shams like this always do, this program throws in the little rider that

"While the long-term goal is to help the addicts get off hard drugs, in the short term, the plan is to get them away from the more dangerous and troubling aspects of heroin addiction, such as committing crimes, sharing needles and shooting up in back alleys."

No it isn't.

There is no demonstrable part of this project aimed at getting anyone off drugs.

It is entirely about giving addicts drugs in the mistaken and completely erroneous hope that that will alter the landscape...which, of course, it won't.

Ms. Walsh has also claimed that this magic act "would be a groundbreaking new treatment in a field where few options are available, especially in Canada."

What Walsh doesn't tell you is that this program will cost about $8 Million a year for the next four years.

In January I will go once again to Winnipeg to run a week of workshops with the staff and resident clients at the Behavioural Health Foundation.

At BHF, there are over 100 men, women and children who are resident clients. There is a 6 month waiting list. People are graduating every day at BHF from high school matriculation and University and college programs. Every one is clean and sober. The total cost of the program is less than $6 Million annually, which means that the individual cost is less than $50,000 annually.

When Walsh and her crew of mistaken pseudo-scientist lunatics backed by opportunist ex-politicians, when these ghouls hand out dope to dope fiends will they include breakfast, lunch and dinner? A roof over the addicts heads, clean clothes and bedding? Music, dancing, singing, group and individual therapy, swimming and hockey, concerts, laughter and tears?

No they won't.

But the Behavioural Health Foundation and Portage and Welcome Home and the handful of other therapeutic community programs and peer-group programs will do all of this and more.

You see, Walsh, there are other options in Canada. Not enough of them, yes.

But it's hard to get funding for real programs run by real people that really work for other real people when so much money is being given to hateful, detestable, mushy-headed obscenities like this latest atrocity.

Our Health Bill is our single largest line item in all our governments across the land.

So many legitimate needs are being ignored.

Seniors care, home care, child protection.

Yet there are the Sam Sullivans and the Larry Campbells and the others who can persuade governments and private benefactors to piss dollars down the drain on giving free narcotics to narcotic addicts, as if this is a new and untried idea.

As if this would add to the common weal.

It may be sunny today.

But for me, this is one of the darkest days I've ever seen.


Jean said...

We have become a gutless and naive society to allow such a thing.

Borgnine said...

Thank you, David, for continuing to be one of the all-too rare voices of reason on addiction issues.

Bob T.

Anonymous said...

Could it be that the drug dealer gangsters now control almost all levels of government?

Anonymous said...

There is nothing one can add to your words David. I was angry after reading the article and wanted to telephone and submit a few "comments" but could not find a telephone number listed for the InnerChange group of ghouls....
Last night I was chatting with a friend who is clean and sober for close to 30 years (AA) and we were discussing just this topic - how some fools are treating addictions with more addicting drugs. Do *any* of them really understand what addiction is all about? Obviously not. Sad.


Norman Farrell said...

David, for the irregular reader, perhaps you should restate your qualification to make these statements. Knowing the background, I trust your words beyond those of most.

Our community will never resolve addiction issues but the holistic approach is absolutely necessary. Merely feeding addiction is naive to the highest degree.

The enabling industry grows stronger in the DTES. Because of that, an ever present pool of victims is needed. Step right up, young people.

Free heroin? A great recruiting tool.

My solution? Skim the streets for the recoverable and give them intense treatment and total support away from this wretched underworld. Focus all on those with a chance for recovery. The others will rot, regardless of what we do. Just turn away no person from effective treatment.

Jeff Taylor said...

Much like some of the other posts said, there's not much I could add to David's words.
I think Norman hit the nail perfectly right on the head when he talks about 'enabling industry' and 'recruiting tool'. There are so many people in the private sector and also in the Govt sector that are 'making money', 'creating jobs', and trying to justify their own 'selfish existence' off the backs of the poor and the disadvantaged that stupid, bloody, ideas / programs like the latest 'InnerChange Foundation' is just another example of Canada's weak, ignorant response to this cancer on our society.
I fear that the horse (no pun intended) has left the barn and there's no catching him now.
As for Larry Campbell, what does he care if this experiment fails ? He's living the good life off the tax payers income taxes.

Gerry Verrier said...

What a bunch of bulldoodoo.

Heroin addicts will be rejoicing tonight. This is exactly what they look for from society. A misguided response to a problem very few of these "helpers" truly understand. Addicts feast on the pity bestowed upon them by these "helpers" and their "treatment" programs that are nothing more than a camouflaged means for free drugs and some sort of stoned engagement where it is hoped they will seek out "counselling" and treatment. What heroin addict is going to seek treatment while he is on the nod?

Everyone else in our society who behaves in an antisocial fashion, and addiction is antisocial, is sanctioned in a way that is meant to deter and discourage more of the same antisocial behaviour. What makes addicts so special? Why is it that they are not expected to get their asses out of bed in the morning and earn their meals and pay their share of taxes? Why is it that the very addicts who commit crimes and endanger citizens and children with their discarded needles are allowed to continue to inject drugs and wreck havoc on the rest of us? Does anyone actually go to bed at night believing these addicts don't continue to share needles and discard them in the gutter or have unprotected sex because society is giving them free drugs?

It's high time (no pun intended) we expect addicts to stop using drugs and contribute to their community and it's high time we stop enabling them. Addicts do not need charity. They need (w)holistic treatment. They need to know that they can live a clean life. Some of them need psychiatric support. They need to be brought into the fold, not treated as entitled misfits on the fringe of society.

It's high time we stopped treating them as if they can't.

Chris M said...

I am REALLY fed up.
The enabling in this City is pathological.
Earlier this year I went to a workshop that the City put on 'Developing a Culture of Prevention in Vancouver'
It was astounding what prevention meant to the non-profits that suck up the money down in the DTES.
Quote "Police shouldn't arrest drug dealers because it's hard on the drugs dealers family"
Say what?
What about the families that are losing loved ones to drugs?
The attitude is strongly entrenched now that people cannot get off drugs.
I say B.S.
Free drugs are something that every addict would love to have BUT it ain't going to make problems go away.
They will still have to find somewhere to live , and food,clothing,etc.
Oh, that's right we're supposed to give them that free as well.
Most employers will NOT knowingly hire people in active addiction. It's too dangerous.
There is no accountability anymore.
I believe in giving people a hand up and out of misery, not enslave them in it for ever.

Roomwithaview said...

On the one hand I am glad my son missed out on this free heroin nonsense, having received ACTUAL treatment and handled his heroin addiction some years ago, because if this pgm was in effect back then he would be dead by now.
On the other hand I am already feeling the future grief of other mothers whose sons and daughters will drown in this criminal and insane program.

dave said...

What I believe you are missing is the research. It is called scientific research. We are reaching out to the marginalized. We are talking about the addicts who wouldn't show up at your Winnipeg clinic. We are dealing with mental illness. These are people with extremely traumatic early childhood experiences. There are many ways to deal with addiction and I for one applaud Innerchange for their new and innovative approach to a problem where the cure is not "one size fits all."

David Berner said...

And what I believe you are missing, Dave, is good manners and an understanding of how to successfully communicate with others.

You may disagree with a position, with my position and that is great.

But there are many ways to say that, the least effective being to start off with a personal attack.

Unfortunately, you also don't really know much about this issue.

You are sitting on the sidelines and armchair quaterbacking.

Get involved, sir.

Invest time and effort and see where it takes you.

Get back to us in about a year.