Time To Get Tough With Skid Road Misfits

August 19, 2009

VANCOUVER’S Skid Road is a slummy end-of-the-line refuge for drug-addicted criminals.
Once a vibrant district, Skid Road is now overrun by junkie marauders who plunder law abiding citizens and merchants in a predictable pattern of violence and property crime.
Just deserts for these incorrigibles ought to be detoxification followed by a significant stretch in jail as pure punishment for their parasitical behaviour.
My suggestion that we get tough with Skid Road misfits will likely draw a cacophony of cluck-clucking from big-brother medical health officers and senior bureaucrats engaged in an Orwellian scheme to medicalize drug addiction.
Medicalization is simply an expedient way to transform the deviant moral and criminal behaviour of drug addicts into a non-deviant medical issue.
You may recall that since 2000, the City of Vancouver and the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority have engaged in pernicious campaign to neutralize criminalization of possession of illicit drugs. They unabashedly mislead the general public with the falsehood that drug addiction is: a particular kind of disease displaying special symptoms; that it is beyond personal agency and self-imposed abstinence; and, that it requires professional medical assistance under the aegis of an addictions bureaucracy.
They have adopted a stigma-neutral lexicon including words and definitions such as “problematic substance abuse” rather than “drug abuse”, and “illegal” for “illicit” to eliminate moral/ethical considerations.
It is indisputable that opiates are poisons; and it is equally a fact that there will always be rogue citizens who, regardless of the risk, want to narcotize themselves out of the uncertainties and rigours of daily life, even if it inevitably leads to life of crime and ill health.
In Romancing Opiates – Pharmacological Lies and the Addiction Bureaucracy, Dr. Anthony Daniels says that “medical consequences (of addiction), however terrible, do not make a disease.”
Before publishing Romancing Opiates in 2006, Daniels had worked 14 years as a doctor in a large general hospital in a British slum, and in an even larger prison nearby. During this period opiate addiction increased dramatically and Daniels began treating as many as 20 new cases a day. He witnessed a worsening of the problem even though drug clinics increased as did medication prescribed to addicts.
Based on his experience with addicts and his extensive reading, Daniels rejects the notion that opiate addiction is relatively instantaneous. He says that it requires determination to reach habitual use three or four times a day, and that “it is truer to say that the addict hooks heroin than that heroin hooks the addict. The active principle in the exchange is the person, not the drug, and the addiction is a freely chosen state: an obvious fact that is ignored by the addiction bureaucracy.”
In forming his opinion Daniels also relied on the experience of American soldiers during and after the Vietnam War: “Thousands of American soldiers, especially towards the end (of the war), addicted themselves to heroin. … What happened to them when they went home? Only one in eight of the addicts continued with his addiction after return to the United States, and by two and three years after their return, the addiction rates among those who had served were no higher than among those who qualified for the draft but did not serve in Vietnam.
“And what help or services did these thousands of addicts receive when the returned home? For all intents and purposes, it varied between very little and none. They simply stopped taking heroin and did not resume.”
When Skid Road’s drug addicts go about robbing and stealing to fund their purchases of illicit drugs, they are cunning, wily and mindful of what they are doing. They are not automatons.
The festering sore of Skid Road is a national disgrace. It is worse today than in 2000.
Parliament has the constitutional right to enact a Public Safety Act that would authorize police to arrest any person found in a public place in a state of incapacitation by illicit drugs, and to forthwith render that person to a justice of the peace for committal into a secure detoxification facility.
It’s high time to take back our streets and public places. So just do it, all you members of Parliament.

Source:wallace-gilby-craig@shaw.ca. – North Shore News – Aug 19/09

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