The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

07 February 2005

BC: Enabling Drug Addicts

Interesting how the end result of this mindless coddling of drug addicts on Vancouver streets is, you guessed it, skyrocketing levels of violent crime, more junkies flocking to the area and an increasingly lower quality of life for everyone.

So what approach do provincial and federal leaders want to take? Even more hand-holding. Why admit a mistake, when you can simply throw more money and government at it. Treatment is one thing, but when addicts are not held accountable for their own actions or lives, they will never change.

(Seattle P-I, Mike Lewis)

U.S. health and drug officials' opinions of the Canadian program range from guarded interest to open hostility. In the White House's Office of Drug Policy, David Murray, a top aide to drug czar John Walters, said the program is an example of what medicine and governments must never do.

Distributing heroin is a "hazardous posture," for a democratic society as it is medically unethical, he said. "The government becomes an enabler in these circumstances," Murray said. "We have demonstrated that these people can be treated (by other means)."

What's wrong with methadone? he asked.

Answers vary. Addictive drug experts say that no opiate treatment has been studied more than methadone, a synthetic narcotic. Broadly, methadone masks the dopamine depletion caused by heroin. Dopamine is the body's brain chemical link to pleasure. It is released in small amounts when people eat or have sex, for example. Drugs, particularly opiates such as heroin and morphine, trigger tidal waves of it.

Arrest on East Hastings

Joshua Trujillo / P-I

A woman who was apparently dealing drugs is arrested recently on East Hastings Street in Vancouver, BC

An addict is chemically and psychologically driven to replace the depletion.

Ron Jackson, director of the Kirkland-based Evergreen Treatment Center, said he's interested in seeing how Canada's project turns out. "I'm generally opposed to this approach," he said, "but let's see what happens."


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