June 10, 2006

In the words of Wayne in Wayne's World: Live in the now

There is already a host of evidence that safe-injection sites, such as the one in downtown Vancouver, decrease incidences of overdose and transmission of infection diseases, but to socially-conservative critics, this information has done little to quell their disgust with a practice they argue only "encourages" users.

However, a recent New England Journal of Medecine study proves that the more a user visits a safe-injection site, the more likely he or she will be to enter a detoxification program.

I can only hope that this is the final piece of credible evidence proves to cynics that safe-injection sites are not a pointless stop-gap measure, but a worthy and wise investment.

9 Commentaires:

Blogger s.b. a dit...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

6/10/2006 11:16 PM  
Blogger s.b. a dit...

Is this post to fill space because Ignatieff did so poorly in the debate today and took a knock out pile driver by Rae who just had to say I Disagree to spontaneous applause from the crowd. OUCH!

I do like the post and sorry you did give the source Denise, silly me.

6/10/2006 11:18 PM  
Blogger Pedro a dit...

Denise, interesting to see that safe-injection sites increase the probability of entering detox, but what about whether or not they increase the amount of drug addiction? Or level of addiction? Or success of the detox?

Just a question, not a criticism.

6/11/2006 3:34 AM  
Blogger Denise B a dit...

I know the data isn't totally conclusive, Pedro, but to posit a valid response to your concern I would use an analogy with sex trade work and the fact that making something safer doesn't necessarily make it more appealing.

The majority of sex trade workers aren't in the profession by choice, but rather by lack of alternatives. We as a society can make sex trade work safer thrugh free condoms, safe and clean locations, or total legalization and subsequent health regulation; however, at the end of the day, chances are it's not those issues that are preventing more women from joining the trade but likely difficulties with the larger act of trading in the currency of ones own body.

Similarly, I don't think there are a lot of people out there saying to themselves, "you know, I'd really like to start shooting up [or shooting up more often] but I just don't have the necessary supplies or a safe space to do so."

6/11/2006 12:51 PM  
Blogger Antonio a dit...

I'm with Denise on this one

"I don't think there are a lot of people out there saying to themselves, "you know, I'd really like to start shooting up [or shooting up more often] but I just don't have the necessary supplies or a safe space to do so."

If only more people thought this way...

6/11/2006 1:09 PM  
Blogger Pedro a dit...

Hmmm... very interesting indeed. I don't know much on the subject and to be honest, I never really gave it much thought.

Personally, I'm huge on the legalization of prostitution. I figure, what an adult does with their lives is their business. Kind of like the swingers clubs. I just don't care.

Having said that, these issues are very complicated and from a public policy perspective, they need to be addressed from many different angles - how many prostitutes are there because they want to and like it? For all those who don't want to be there, should we establish programs for not just making their profession safe, but giving them ways out through education, rehab, etc. I think we can do more than just making it safe.

I see the drug issue the same way. I think there is more the public can do than just making their bad habits "safer". We can offer counselling, education programs (i.e. GEDs), etc.

Offering safe injection sites could be a good idea if they were accompanied with supplementary services, but really, who knows... I'm assuming neither you, nor Antonio, have ever lived on the streets next to some of the most drug addicted people. Neither have I, so it's difficult to start drawing conclusions on the issue without fully grasping it.

As per the comments, ""I don't think there are a lot of people out there saying to themselves, "you know, I'd really like to start shooting up [or shooting up more often] but I just don't have the necessary supplies or a safe space to do so" - I know so many people who have been hard into the drug scene (trust me, I worked for some notorious restaurants for drugs), and so many get started because the drugs are there and they don't have to pay for them. Many people say, "oh, if it's there, I'll do it...". But if it's always available, you never know what may happen - drug addiction rates could go up.

I'm not saying that having these safe drug sites will increase the number of those addicted to drugs, but it could and just because one cannot fathom it, doesn't mean it wouldn't happen.

But thanks for the dialogue and drawing attention attention to the issue that no one wants to touch. A lot of people are afraid of the idea because they are ignorant, but I'm sure there are a lot of people who don't like the idea because, as you mention, the information isn't conclusive. Given the lack of information (and the fact that I am no expert), I can't really support the idea of safe injection sites. But still, thanks for the dialogue

6/11/2006 1:35 PM  
Blogger Denise B a dit...

As someone who's frequented restaurants like the ones you mentioned, it's a good point, and although I don't know if it holds true for IV drug users, it's certainly true for many types of drugs. An interesting exchange indeed =)

6/11/2006 4:21 PM  
Blogger Pedro a dit...

I've seen IV drugs at use. In fact, I found that it was the harder drugs that people were more apt to only try if someone else supplied it and was done among people they trusted. My best friend, LP, tried heroin for the first time and justified it by "well, at least I didn't buy it" and "it was done around people who knew what was going on in case anything bad happened".

But still, my experience with IV drugs is largely anecdotal. I have never tried anything or really known anyone who was truly cracked out on the streets with nowhere to sleep, blah, blah, blah. I have known people addicted to IV drugs, but they have still been able to function without anyone really noticing. So, yes, in that regard, my experience is absolutely limited.

6/11/2006 5:41 PM  
Blogger Kyle Carruthers a dit...

Denise,

Totally agree with you. I wrote on this subject the other week. Its frustrating that in the face of overwhelming evidence, some people (including some Liberals) still continue to insist that harm reduction is "wrong" because it
"encourages drug use".

Its reminds me of the unreasonable parents who refuse to let their daughter access birth control that thinks they are doing the right thing by sending the message that teenage sex is "wrong". Meanwhile the child sneaks out there bedroom window and get knocked up.

Some people still have to realize that the criminal law is often an absurdly ineffective solution to social problems. Drug-users will do what they do. The only question is whether we:
a) Keep saying "no... dont do that", only to be ignored by the addict who goes out and either uses a dirty needle or overdoses, or
b) Try something that is proven to work.
I say we try the latter for a change.

While we're at it we should legalize pot.

6/11/2006 7:38 PM  

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