The following was sent to me by a friend who knows the DTES better than most.. This is just about one of the best pieces on the subject I`ve ever read.
Think back about 10 years when Vancouver's injection drug users all got together and created a lobby group - VANDU ….and people thought they were nuts. They lobbied for drug users rights and eventually they got it from the local politicians. Guys like quiet uneventful Philp Owen woke up and thought they could be viewed as a visionary if they got on board. The druggies were able to convince the locals that instead of being called DRUG ABUSERS they should be called DRUG USERS and eventually their lifestyle was accepted and they were called THE DRUG COMMMUNITY. All the while without having any desire to kick the habit, pay their share of the taxes, and contribute to society like the rest of us. They were able to convince some of the locals that DRUG INTERVENTION and DRUG ABSTINENCE were mean, nasty, and unrealistic goals. They could now continue to live off the rest of society without any guilt.
And many left leaning people got good paying jobs in Vancouver to service the drug community's every need. Millions and millions of tax dollars poured into the area without anyone monitoring the results. Politicians pretended to base their entire political direction on helping the poor addicted people but never really did anything significant to change the situation. That way their political careers flourished. (Libby Davies, Jenny Kwan, Jim Green, Mayor Larry Campbell, Philip Owen, etc.etc.)
As long as there were plenty of drug addicts kept around they could all keep their jobs. So any time there is a hint of changing the status quo they all get back together and get up in arms.
The majority of the public cannot relate to someone who is addicted to drugs such as heroin, pot, and cocaine because they don't have addicted family members or friends on the stuff. They don't understand that a heroin or cocaine addiction which is an illegal substance is similar to a tobacco, prescription drug or alcohol addiction which is a legal substance. After all they are all similar drugs with similar effects. Some are injected. Some are smoked. Some are inhaled. And some are consumed. In order to kick the habit, on ANY OF THESE DRUGS, one does not have to be strapped down to a hospital bed for days on end monitored by medical staff like an Intensive Care Unit.
Drug treatment centres aren't fancy hospitals built like prisons watching the patients every move 24/7. Instead most drug treatment facilties are simply supportive housing where patients are free to come and go and where abstinence is preached along with group counselling. Nothing fancy. Nothing highly technical that requires a lengthy hospital visit. People can kick drug addictions in their own home.
The public can't really relate to a person addicted to illegal drugs but they can relate to someone with a tobacco, prescription drugs, or alcohol addiction because they are more likely to have family members or friends with these problems. They may even have this problem themselves.
Getting back to the story of the Free booze lounge in the skids…. Vancouver Alcoholics, with help from the poverty pimps, are trying to do what the drug users did a decade ago. They are organizing themselves and are demanding a steady stream of free booze everyday of the week. This is another new industry where many jobs could be created.
This time they are not getting the same look from the public. Many of us personally know people that have a problem with alcohol. We think that it is ridiculous to think that we would reward people like Uncle Harold and Cousin Fred with free booze when we know they are just lazy slobs that want to party all night and sleep all day.
If we do give free booze to these people what is going to guarentee they are not going to continue to supplement their drinking with the mouthwash, shaving cream etc. at night?
Also if we start feeding people free booze is the public legally responsible once they leave the facilty and begin to cross the street while intoxicated. What if they leave the facililty go lie down in the alley and freeze to death? Are we now going to have to hire personal escorts or chauffeurs to make sure they return to their one room apartment?
Instead of Community GARDENS Vancouver could have Community U-BREW sites all over the city to feed the alcoholics.
If this keeps up… instead of having to go to work everyday to pay the taxes… some of us could spend the time fermenting alcohol and growing pot for their own personal consumption while living off the public teet.
As it is right now each year our TAX FREEDOM DATE is in June or July. That means that half of all the money we make goes to paying taxes so that the rest of society can live.
Let's get realistic….We all can't sit around and wait for the welfare cheque to roll in each month.