Monday, May 16, 2011
The Dark Side of Insite
There has been a lot of press about the joys of insite as we approach the supreme court's decision about the government's appeal to close it down. I will admit that saving lives is a good thing. Yet in all fairness we need to discuss the dark side of insite if we are going to fairly address the issue.
My personal problem with insite and needle exchanges isn't the fact that they exist. It's the social problems they create. Selling crack is against the law. Yet when we open up a needle exchange or safe injection site we then allow drug dealers to sell crack and everything under the sun openly and publicly. In fact the amount of drug trafficking goes up not down.
We want to help the addicts by reducing the risk of overdose yet in doing so we create more addicts. Sure a handful will enter a detox program but look at the huge number of more addicts we create by making the drug so accessible. Not to mention how hard we make it for addicts to quit when the drug is so accessible and everywhere they go dealers are pushing it in their face.
I will admit, cleaning the allies and having a nice clean place to inject heroin or inject cocaine looks nice. It almost looks compassionate. As long as you don't look at the dark side and deny it exists.
Anyone with a brain will agree that the huge exposure insite is getting, there is a huge amount of money to be made from the illegal drug trade it promotes. Extremists would then claim the next step is to legalize all drugs. Yet that would be irresponsible as would promoting an illegal drug trade.
So here we have a safe injection site in East Vancouver that has greatly increased not decreased the amount of drug trafficking in the area. Let's pause for a minute and ask ourselves who is profiting from all this misery? Who are the ones making the big bucks from supplying the drugs to be injected there? It is the Hells Angels. The Hells Angels control the drug trade in East Vancouver. They are so ruthlessly violent the people in East Van are too afraid to mention their name. The name Hells Angels is then replaced with the acronym the boys, the big boys or not even repeated out of fear.
Kind of like the fear Tony Terezakis instilled on behalf of the Hells Angels in the American hotel and the Cobalt. Kinda like the fear that Juel Stanton instilled for the Hells Angels in the Ivanhoe. Which was reinstilled when they even killed Juel Stanton which made the fear and uncertainly of their brutal ruthlessness skyrocket.
Kinda like the fear that would generate enough public outrage to hold demonstrations for Ashley Machiskinic's murder when the police tried to claim it was a suicide.
Kind of like the fear generated by the Surrey House of Horrors or the Prince George torture chambers. That is the dark side of Insite. If that kind of drug related torture exists in Surrey and Prince George, we know it exists in East Vancouver. The Pickton farm was just one example.
So there are clearly pros and cons of keeping Insite open. Preventing over doses is a good thing but increasing the number of addicts is not and supporting the kind of torture and abuse addicts are experiencing is socially irresponsible. The methadone program has good intentions. Yet when we refuse to reduce the dosage for people on the program those good intentions fail.
On the subject of Insite John Ferry from the Vancouver Province wrote a good editorial called: Addicts need more than a clean needle. "On the other hand, former longtime heroin addict Barry Joneson wants Insite shut down. He's saddened people don't seem to understand you have to confront addiction, not coddle it."
Which kinda brings me to my statement doctors don't prescribe alcohol to alcoholics. James Coulter said Clay had a very big heart. I will never forget how he helped me get out of addiction.
We don't want a safe injection site in Surrey.