Saturday, November 20, 2010

The Vienna Declaration of Drug Dependence

Another victory for organized crime. Vancouver City Hall unanimously abandoned the Four Pillars program and adopted the one legged horse in the Vienna Declaration. What scientist prescribes an alcoholic alcohol? That is just plain sick. "Harm reduction Harm reduction! All we want is free drugs." What a great way to bankrupt medical.

It's actually somewhat bizarre that the Vancouver City Hall web site lists both the New York model and the Vienna declaration which are two completely different models. They even still list the Four Pillars as though the Vienna Declaration doesn't completely contradict the Four Pillars.

The New York Model as all about Enforcement. I saw it. East 42nd Street was like East Vancouver. It was full of crack dealers and all the round the clock violence associated with crack dealers and crack addiction. They stepped up the enforcement to harass and arrest the drug dealers and they moved Disney on the Deuce. That was like putting a Disney store at Main and Hastings. The enforcement worked. Once they got rid of all the crack dealers, the City was transformed and crime was greatly reduced. That is the New York Model.

I will note that Vienna itself is a magnificent city with an amazing history as being the cultural capital of the world for generations. Mozart was born in Austria and became famous with his musical masterpieces in Vienna. Mozart was no doubt a musical genius. Many great composers were from or spent time in Vienna. Even Falco remixed some of the old with the new in Rock me Amadeus.

It is really unfortunate that opportunists have exploited the name and fame of Vienna for introducing such verbal trash and claim the idea came from Vienna. It sounds more like an Amsterdam failure than a Vienna masterpiece. The Four Pillars was a balanced approach. Removing the other three pillars is more than complacent. It is playing right into the hands of organized crime. That active enabling will destroy our society not improve it. No doubt Beethoven is rolling over in his grave over this crazy declaration.

I think it's time the good people of Vienna sue the evil doers of this dead declaration for stealing the name of their fine City. Clearly Vienna trash is just as bad as Vancouver trash. Yet the world has so much more to offer. Let's look at the good in Vienna not the bad. This declaration is bad. Yet there is so much more in this cultural capital that is good. Let's taste and revel in the best of Vienna not roll around in it's dirt.


  1. You are not a physician or a scientist (I am both) that is clear. Assuming you are ignorant and not simply 'pro-harm' here is my prescription for your ailment:

    1. Go to youtube.
    2. Watch this video titled Addiction and Brain Development:

    Better yet, you seem to have a great deal of free time on your hands. Perhaps you could do something actually worthwhile and donate some time to Dr Mate's project.

  2. Watch this and stop being so obtuse:

  3. My advice to you is stop smoking the crack you’re trying to legalize. Those videos are offensive. A doctor does not prescribe alcohol to an alcoholic. That would be deemed socially irresponsible. Organized crime have lawyers. It appears they have a few doctors now too.

    You work downtown east side as a doctor. Then don’t you think helping addicts get off the drugs and into housing would be a better approach than giving them more drugs? Sure you wanna do both – give them housing and free drugs. Brilliant. That would bankrupt our Medical system. Don’t tell me, you’re a brain surgeon too.

    Since you are helping to promote drugs in East Van do you get any kickback from the local drug dealers like physicians do for prescribing certain pharmaceutical drugs? You’ve worked at Insite. That means you are on their payroll and any advice you give on the legalization of drugs is a conflict of interest.

  4. I stated that I am a scientist and a physician. I did not say I work in Vancouver. I live and work on Vancouver Island. I did at no point claim to be Dr Mate. I posted a link to a talk given by Dr Gabor Mate on the subject of harm reduction. Clearly you don't know the first thing of what you're talking about. If you had demostrated a willingness to look at the material I'd have been enthusiastic about debating with you the merits of harm reduction strategies. Unfortunately you're "not quite up to the task."

    If you go your local library and pick up Gabor Mate's book "In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters With Addiction" you will find all of the necessary citations for numerous empirical studies that clearly demonstrate the soundness and effectiveness of harm reduction strategies in reducing harm in addicted patients. But that doesn't interest you, it would seem.

    You appear mainly to be interested in lionizing the gangsters you pretend to deplore, and editorializing your ignorance on various subjects. You are ignorant and homophobic, and therefore irrelevant. And you take copyrighted photographs from the web without citation.

    This bizarre reply that you've cribbed together - accusing me of using crack and taking "kickbacks" - I am telling you now: if I had used my real name, (something which i originally did consider before posting), then instead of writing this reply i would be instructing my attorney.

  5. I see so Dr. Mate is the idiot in a conflict of interest by promoting the legalization of drugs while he gets paid to work at Insight and you are trying to do the same thing on Vancouver Island. Let me spell it out for you: I disagree with your position. Is that such a crime? Or are you like all the other harm reduction fanatics who keep yelling harm reduction louder and louder until the world buys free drugs for addicts. In a democratic society my vote is equal to yours. I’m sure you will find hordes of extremists who will agree with you and sing your praises. I do not and I will not. Harm reductions needs enforcement, prevention and treatment otherwise we are socially irresponsible enablers. Experimenting with crack does not make you a scientist.

  6. I suspect that your groundless mischaracterization of Insite, and Onsite, (which is the essential residential detox and rehabilitation aspect of the Portland Hotel program) as being the same as "giving free drugs to addicts," is intentionally misleading. In other words, I think you are dishonest.

    I hereby challenge you to go down to Insite/Onsite and actually speak with someone there. Or conduct an interview by phone. Consider it a little fact-finding mission. Your readers will no doubt appreciate the effort.

    Of course you will not take me up on this challenge because you're not a serious individual.

    From the web:

    InSite by the Numbers

    InSite Usage:
    - Average of 700-800 visits a day, and over 275,000 visits annually
    - As of March 2010, there have been over 1.5 million visits
    - Over 12,000 unique individuals registered
    - Average of 11 visits per month, per person
    Harm Reduction:
    - A total of 2395 overdoses since the facility opened, with no fatalities.
    - Over 1200 ODs since Insite opened - no fatalities
    - 20,000 referrals to health/services in 2008-2009; over 50% of these were to detox
    - InSite users are 30% more likely to engage in addiction treatment than non-InSite users
    Benefits to the health care system:
    The benefit of preventing HIV infections and deaths is calculated to be between $1.50 and $4.02 (depending on the model used) for every $1.00 spent. These calculations are based upon an underestimate of the full range of benefits, and an overestimate of the annual costs of operation of the facility
    Community Support
    - 57% of Lower Mainland residents support InSite
    - 65% of City of Vancouver residents support InSite
    (Angus Reid poll, May 31 2008)
    Infectious Diseases
    - 3 in 10 injection drug users in the Downtown Eastside (DTES) are HIV positive
    - 18% of InSite clients are HIV positive
    - There were 30 new HIV cases in the DTES compared to 2100 new cases in 1996
    - Lifetime costs for a new HIV infection are close to $500,000 US
    Hepatitis C
    - 9 in 10 injection users in the DTES have Hepatitis C
    - 87% of InSite clients have Hepatitis C
    InSite participants
    - 27% of clients are women
    - 19% of clients are Aboriginal
    - 17% of clients are homeless
    - 68% of clients live in the DTES
    - 80% of clients have a history of incarceration
    - 73% of users have injected in public before
    Drug use
    - Heroin was used in 42% of injections
    - Cocaine was used in 26% of injections
    - Morphine was used in 11% of injections

    The four pillars of Vancouver's drug policy are:

    Promoting healthy families and communities, protecting child and youth development, preventing or delaying the start of substance use among young people and reducing harm associated with substance use. Successful prevention efforts aim to improve the health of the general population and reduce differences in health between groups of people.

    Offering individuals access to services that help people come to terms with problem substance use and lead healthier lives, including outpatient and peer-based counseling, methadone programs, daytime and residential treatment, housing support and ongoing medical care.

    Reducing the spread of deadly communicable diseases, preventing drug overdose deaths, increasing substance users' contact with health care services and drug treatment programs and reducing consumption of drugs in the street.

    Recognizing the need for peace and quiet, public order and safety in the Downtown Eastside and other Vancouver neighbourhoods by targeting organized crime, drug dealing, drug houses, problem businesses involved in the drug trade, and improving coordination with health services and other agencies that link drug users to withdrawal management (detox), treatment, counseling and prevention services.

  7. Like I said harm reduction is one of the Four Pillars. Pushing harm reduction and throwing away the other four pillars is irresponsible. The Four Pillars are: Harm Reduction, Prevention, Treatment and Enforcement. Scientists don’t prescribe alcohol to alcoholics. That is my position.

    The Vienna Declaration goes far beyond harm reduction as do the lobbyists who cry harm reduction over and over until they get what they really want- free drugs. I don’t believe legalizing hard drugs is socially responsible especially crack or meth. VANDU and other extremists want to turn the safe injection site into a safe inhalation site where people can smoke crack in a safe environment at the taxpayer’s expense.

    On the one hand, legalizing drugs doesn’t make them free. Society is adversely affected by the ridiculously chronic offenders who commit endless crimes to pay for their drugs. Taking it the next step and providing free drugs at the tax payer’s expense is absolutely insane. The homeless need housing not drugs. Handing out free crack kits at the taxpayers expense is insane.

    We’re in the middle of a tax revolt in British Columbia. Recall petitions are actively underway for the Liberals drive to ram the HST through against people’s will. Not only are we under a tax revolt, we are also under a budget shortfall. They’re schools, hospitals, senior homes and mental institutions all over the province being shut down. What schools and hospitals should we close to pay for your program and your salary?

    East Vancouver is the living example of an experiment that failed.

  8. i used to read your blog with a fair bit of interest and sometimes amusement, but posts like this make me wonder where?? are you coming from??? you are being blatently dishonest.

    Vancouver does support the Four Pillars. Insite and the Vienna Declaration represent their support for treatment and harm reduction, the New York model for enforcement. its not rocket science. each has their place. To frame it as an either/or debate is an indication of ignorace or prejudice.

    Physicians do not prescribe alcohol to alcoholics. Adults can access alcohol easily and legally. Nor would many MDs prescribe cold turkey to alcoholics, alcohol withdrawl is a serious thing.

    You're always going on about legal drugs being free, all throughout this blog, as if alcohol (legal) is free, until in your last comment you acknowledge that your hysteria is not true. Witholding crack kits from users (or free needles, condoms, prophylaxis) is insane, considering the cost to society of HIV, hepititis etc. You really need to do some math, get a calculator. Yes the homeless need homes, and at risk populations need prophylaxis, absolutely.

    What about you?? do you get kickbacks for spreading lies and obfuscation on the issues of dealing with organised crime??

  9. Your explanation kind of makes sense. The Four Pillars is about Harm Reduction and Enforcement. If they say they still support the Four Pillars and their embracing the Vienna Declaration is just part of their support for the Harm Reduction aspect of the Four Pillars and their support of the New York model is part of their support for the Enforcement aspect of the Four Pillars then yes indeed that would make sense.

    My point was the New York Model and the Vienna Declaration are two very different models. To use them both within the Four Pillars would make sense. Yet there are many extremists that quote the Four Pillars program, cry harm reduction and completely ignore the other three pillars. We have seen that does not work. In fact that is what we are currently doing in East Vancouver. We have not embraced the Four Pillars in East Vancouver. We have only embraced harm reduction which isn’t working.

    We have seen extremists try to turn safe injection sites into safe inhalation sites for people to smoke crack at the taxpayers expense. Yes they would have to pay for their own drugs but the tax payer would fit the bill for the program and the crime the addicts commit to pay for their addiction. Many of those extremists would love to see drugs for addicts be paid for by tax dollars as part of pharmacare. I clearly do not support that. It is not dishonest at all for me to say many extremists are pushing for that. They are. Right now the methadone program is paid for with tax dollars and we have seen that the idea of using methadone to wean addicts off the drug is not happening. In fact they increase the dosage instead of decreasing it, all at the taxpayers expense.

    Needle exchanges should be exchanges. You hand in a dirty needle for a clean needle. Simply handing out free needles just puts more on the street near schools and playgrounds. Yes treating someone with aids is also a large expense for the medical system and reducing the risk of aids would reduce that expense. That is a very valid point. However, I’m just not comfortable with the idea of handing out free crack kits. It sends the wrong message. You don’t get aids from a crack pipe but the physical damage crack and crystal meth does to your body is staggering. Handing out free crack kits says crack is OK when it is not.

    What we see happening is in areas where they hand out free needles or free crack kits is the crack dealers move in like bankers on Wall Street. The police can’t really arrest someone for selling crack when the government is handing out free crack pipes so they turn a blind eye and that aspect of harm reduction is in reality changing the laws and removing the essential enforcement aspect of the New York Model. I personally don’t support that. The Homeless need homes not drugs. The system can’t afford to give them both. It’s one or the other so my vote is for social housing not for hard drugs.

  10. if one pillar is weak it makes no sense to knock the other pillar down.
    hep c is readily transmitted thru saliva, and its as serious a health issue as hiv. do you know how cheap glass pipes (even just mouthpieces), needles, condoms are?? pennies. life threatening diseases??? not pennies.
    more to the point of the vienna declaration: legalise!! tax the goods to fund the mitigation of their use. marginalise criminals from a lucrative trade. do you know how many tons of drugs come and go?? almost all of them are used by (otherwise)law abiding citizens, with little incident. Sure the other 1% you read about in the papers causing sh!t but its not representative, those ones would be causing sh!t anyways.

  11. “hep c is readily transmitted thru saliva.” So what do we do ban kissing? Or do we hand out free mouth pieces so people can kiss through a mouthpiece? We have to draw the line somewhere. Glass pipes are cheap. Handing out free mouth pieces to go over the crack pipe doesn’t make sense. I doubt many use the mouth pieces. Handing out free crack pipes sends the wrong message.

    “more to the point of the vienna declaration: legalize!!” Ah ha, so according to you, the Vienna Declaration is a step toward legalization of all drugs. Thank you for being honest. I completely oppose that. Pot is one thing but legalizing crack or meth is absolutely irresponsible. Those addicts are the chronic offenders that do a huge percentage of our property crime to pay for their drugs. Legalizing them won’t make them free and crack is already cheap. These drugs consume the addict until they keep wanting more while they destroy the addict’s brain and body.

  12. your headline is
    'stupidity: doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result'
    so, how long has prohibition been 'working' for??? insite has been in place just long enough for research to start showing that its as effective as they hoped it would be.
    do we ban kissing??? thats funney. hiv carriers must disclose their status to prospective partners. we're talking about high risk populations not the general public. hep c carriers could concievably be charged for endangerment by kissing without disclosing their status.
    compliance with the use of mouthpieces will be influenced by the culture around the drug use. Treating users as criminals doesnt support the self esteem required to make responsible and respectful decisions about health.
    'ah ha'?? did you just figure out from my comments that the declaration supports legalising drugs?? speed up bro!! dam strait ill be honest, i think a good handful of drugs should be legal, theyre being used anyways and *some* of them are as harmful as candy. drug use should be between a user and their doctor, none of anyone elses business. the doc could give good advice and oversight on the users habits and refer support if things are heading south. even with a stack of taxes theyd be cheaper and cleaner, and drug money wouldnt be supporting criminals, it could go to enforcement, rehab, low income housing etc etc.

  13. Let me be clear about one thing: I am not saying treat addicts like criminals. I am saying treat drug dealers like criminals. Not pot dealers, crack and meth dealers. They are the ones pushing women out of hotel windows in East Van for drug debts. That kind of violence started after Insite was in place. If an addict becomes a prolific offender to pay for their drug then they become criminals and should be incarcerated for three months with no crack for property crimes not for drug use.

    I take offence to extremists over using the term prohibition. Legalizing crack or meth is irresponsible. If we make crack or meth legal then it would be impossible for the police to arrest any dealer for selling crack. The worst they would get is a ticket for selling crack without a license. That would not stop the drug related violence in East Vancouver that we have been enabling for many years.

    Enforcement worked in New York. We haven’t tried that yet in Vancouver.


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