A junkie shoots up at the back window of Insite, a so called safe injection site in Vancouver's Downtown East Side.
The Insite worker hands junkies fist fulls of "free" as in taxpayer funded needles and as a result the back alley is
littered with discarded, uncapped, used needles. Brand new, unopened needles are also discarded a litter the back
alleys and sidewalks around Insite. (Photo taken by Bill Whatcott)
Contrary to Chris Selley's claim in the National Post article below, real conservatives have an answer and can provide sound grounds for opposing so-called safe injection sites. Before starting let me qualify myself to speak before I make my arguments and offer better solutions.
I was a drug addict and a drug dealer on Vancouver's East Side in the 1980s.
I am now clean for 29 years and have in fact worked on both sides of the fence. After I gave my life to Jesus Christ and left the drug scene I worked as a psychiatric nurse with addicts being part of my case load.
I live in Vancouver's East Side today and am directly impacted by Insite and its drug addict clientele.
I am a conservative and a social conservative. I regard Rona Ambrose and John Tory as being on the left of the political spectrum. In my view they are not really conservative and they don't speak for me.
Philosophically speaking providing "harm reduction" ie; providing free needles, free condoms, supervised injection sites, etc... is morally wrong and it does give the impression the state is condoning anti-social behaviours such as prostitution and drug abuse. Also when you force taxpayers to protect people from their bad choices, it is a form of robbery. Canada's so-called harm reduction strategy hurts taxpayers in demonstrable ways and provides few tangible benefits.
In practical terms the impression that the state condones antisocial drug behaviour actually plays itself out on the street. In the 1980s when I was dealing drugs we had to be discreet. Police enforcement against street level pushers like me was real and the consequences were real enough back then to deter many potential criminals and make the rest of us disrcreet. I wasn't really detered to leave the trade, because Canada in the 1980's provided comfortable enough prisons for my liking and indeed I knew if I was caught I would be out within a year. I had no real job ambitions back then and a year holliday in Maple Ridge Correctional Center where I could recreate and eat healthy food was fine by me. Canada's justice system lacked deterrence when fighting drugs in the 1980's, but the situation is worse today and so is the scope of Canada's drug problem.
Today even the lackluster enforcement of the 1980's is gone. When I occassionally walk Main and Hastings St in Vancouver's East Side I literally see pushers selling their poison in the wide open. While police drive around the pushers seem unconcerned and I have witnessed junkies shoot up right in front of the police with the police doing nothing about it. In the 1980's while Main and Hastings was seedy and drugs were not too hard to find, it was nothing like it is today.
I have filmed what happens around Insite and have been told by staff and "clients" to get lost. I have had addicts throw pojectiles at my car. The "rule" on Main and Hastings is: concerned taxpayers are not allowed to film the criminal and anti-social activity taking place on the public sidewalks and on the road. The junkies and government funded "enablers" have literally taken over several blocks of prime real estate and they see it as theirs. In the 1980's me and other drug dealers were around but we did not view the city sidewalks as our private property to deal drugs, sell stolen goods and litter up wiith discarded free stuff. We certainly didn't tell Vancouver taxpayers to get lost if they walked around with a camera. Rather we stayed quiet and did our business indoors, not inviting annoyed taxpayers with cameras to take notice of us.
The junkies completely taking over the sidewalks, parks and back alleys has not been great for the Vancouver East Side. In the 1980's before free needles were handed out, I can't recall ever seeing a discarded needle in Vancouver's parks, sidewalks or back alleys. Now if you visit Main & Hastings look on the sidewalk or go to any park within a 15 minute walking distance you will see hundreds of discarded needles and addicts strung out everywhere.
Property crime is terrible in the area, but police often don't even bother making arrests. Residents don't bother calling the police when they are victimized, and when they do the courts throw out half of the cases before they reach trial anyways. So presto that is the leftist solution to crime, get low crime stats by not enforcing the law! But the effects are obvious. Legitimate storefront businesses avoid the east side. Government agencies and taxpayer subsidized catering services to addicts and prostitutes make up the bulk of storefront agencies.
The amount of garbage on the streets now verses 30 years ago is amazing. Uncapped used needles, needle wrappers, brand new unopened needles, food wrappers, human feces, pop bottles, urine soaked discarded clothes; you name it, discarded, strewn all over, polluting the streets, parks and alleys of the East Side. The visual blight is half the problem. I have actually concluded that when the left takes over and becomes entrenched, (Regent Park in Toronto in the 1990s, Vancouver East Side today, Detroit), the landscape actually becomes more ugly.
Like I said the visual blight and general disorder is half the problem. Then there is the cost. I read I believe 10 years ago before the fentanyl crises took hold that the Vancouver’s East Side harm reduction and poverty pimp industry was costing taxpayers a billion dollars a year. That is a lot of coin for just one neighborhood and the results for the amount of cash spent remains questionable.
With the advent of Insite, even more addicts, and Fentanyl, I am sure the cost to taxpayers is way past the one billion dollar mark now. Strangely, I note not one media outlet even talks about the amount of taxpayer dollars it is costing to protect Canada's junkies from themselves. Anecdotally, I can let people know what it is costing me in Vancouver, seeing as the media isn’t talking about it. Hard core fentanyl and crack addicts generally get either welfare or disability and don't hold jobs, unless prostitution or stealing bikes counts as a job. In cold hard cash that can be anywhere from $600 -$1200 in taxpayer benefits for a month, then if they got kids more.
There are a few dozen subsidized apartments in Vancouver's East Side. I note the taxpayer funded staff at the front desk of some of these buildings facilitate open prostitution and drug dealing on their premises in the name of harm reduction. What running these virtual brothels costs the taxpayer I can only guess. The clients mostly don't care and litter up and wreck their homes. Cleaning, repairing, supervising the junkies, putting out fires and repairing the damage caused by the drug labs and passed out addicts going up in flames must be millions upon millions of dollars.
Back in the 1980s I saw the ambulances roar to Main and Hastings to deal with a stabbing or overdose maybe twice a day. Today it is literally insane. A few months back I heard the city of Vancouver was talking about raising my Dad’s property tax rate to cope with the burden of paying for the paramedics picking up the overdose cases at and around Insite. I am not surprised. During my walks down that way I have noted the ambulances are literally down there picking people up for drugs and occasionally violence related issues every 15 minutes or so, and it really does go 24/7. The average cost to taxpayers for ambulances plus nothing else is $1,000 per trip and on the East Side thanks to the harm reduction approach the ambulances are running 24/7.
There are other costs, all of it in the multiple millions of dollars on the East Side. The police presence is heavy, but they seem ineffective. The courts are costly and worse than ineffective. Rehabs with a 5% success rate after 5 years is costing more multiple millions of dollars. Sanitation? Not many think about that one, but I do. I worked on the city sanitation department for 6 weeks during the summer last year and was amazed. A dozen staff work morning and night, picking up garbage strewn around by junkies at approximately $30 hr, plus benefits. We worked hard and were sort of effective. We picked up the needles, feces, strewn clothes, shopping carts, discarded food, and an hour later it was all back again. Taxpayers pay for that and it is all related to the harm reduction crowd taking over the narrative and allowing the area to be overrun with junkies, prostitutes and dealers.
All of this money going to harm reduction and enabling self destructive behavior has consequence to Canadians. Taxes (municipal, federal and provincial) are eating up close to 50% of our income. All levels of government are in debt and rather than balancing the books they are coming up with more ways to throw money at non-productive people in a futile effort to protect them from themselves.
When I was a home care nurse in Saskatchewan I had an elderly diabetic who was a law abiding, low income, wage earner all of her life. Being in the service industry her retirement and health benefits were marginal and as a result the government paid for her insulin needles (the identical needle given to junkies).
My patient only received enough money to buy a 3 weeks supply of needles every month and her old age security left her with little money to buy the week’s shortfall of needles. At the end of the month we often reused needles as she had no money. Once she asked if there was any way to get more needles. I told her if she used the needles for their intended purpose of giving insulin to her body no, but if she went to Regina’s North Central and claimed she was a heroin addict, she could get all the free needles she wanted. People with legitimate health needs are suffering thanks to our decision to subsidize poor lifestyle choices.
The only benefits I see in Vancouver’s East Side is lots of taxpayer money going to poverty pimps and government workers. I suppose the nurse at Insite is happy if she focuses on her handsome paycheque and not so much on the fact that her clients (that she allegedly saves), will eventually get HIV, overdose elsewhere, and commit crimes around her agency. The nurse at Insite has an easy job watching junkies shoot themselves up and calling the ambulance when they fall over, but I believe her skill set is not being properly utilized, in fact her skills are going to waste.
In 2015 the number of overdose deaths in the lower mainland skyrocketed to over 700. While Insite tells a half truth and claims success by saying addicts are being saved from overdose at their site, lets remember they are also handing needles out their back window. Addicts are indeed shooting up in the alleys and overdosing and dying around Insite. Also the multiple daily ambulance trips from Insite and the surrounding blocks to the hospital smells more like human carnage and an unsustainable taxpayer burden than success to me.
There is a solution. Contrary to the often repeated lie, the war on drugs can be won. To start, we would have to redefine drug addiction and tackle it as a moral problem rather than a health problem.
When I was an addict I chose to get high and live a destructive lifestyle that harmed myself and others. The addiction quickly robbed me of the will to say no to drugs and it created health problems for me, but at the end of the day I had a moral problem that created health and social problems. My hardworking but poor home care patient by contrast never chose to become a diabetic. She had a real health problem, but her legitimate health needs are not being adequately met as billions of dollars go to mitigating Canada's dug epidemic.
Once drug addiction is correctly viewed as a moral problem that leads to bad health outcomes, drug trafficking has to be viewed as an existential threat to our society's well being. So-called Charter protections for addicts and dealers have to be removed and addicts need to face a minimum 2 year prison term (with productive hard labour) for minor possession and intoxication, followed by 5 years community supervision with the promise they will do another two years in prison if they relapse and/or fail to find productive employment or job training.
Dealers need to face a mandatory death penalty.
Singapore has taken this approach with great success for more than 2 decades now. Singapore should have a worse drug problem than Canada's as they are a wealthy city state in the middle of the world’s Golden Triangle, a premier opioid producing region. Unlike Canada with thousands of opioid deaths annually, Singapore only had one overdose death in 2011. Their health system does not suffer long waiting lists as resources are poured into saving addicts from themselves. Rather than looking to Europe or listening to leftist pseudo experts who often have vested interests and addiction issues themselves, we should look to safe and clean countries like Singapore to see what they are doing right. Listen to Singapore's Foreign Affairs Minister and see if there is more truth in what he is saying than Christ Selley:
“Globally, drug use kills between 100,000-250,000 people, mostly young people. Singapore is probably either the only country, or one of the few countries in the world, which has successfully fought this drug problem. For those who ask for whom the death penalty can be a deterrent, I say to them, come and see for yourself in Singapore, and compare the region and the rest of the world.
Listen to Singapore's Foreign Affairs Minister and see if there is more truth in what he is saying than Christ Selley:
Death penalty for traffickers, in our experience, has been an effective deterrent, as part of a framework of laws, coupled with effective enforcement based on rule of law. Drug traffickers stay out of Singapore now, largely, because of the knowledge: first, that there is a highly professional and incorruptible police force and there is a high probability that they will get caught; and second, there is rule of law, an independent judiciary and a high probability that, based on the laws, they will face the death penalty. So we do not have slums, ghettoes, no-go zones for the police, or syringes in our playgrounds.
People know the story of Singapore – a story based on rule of law, human development, quality of life – that can be compared to the experience of any country around this table or any other table. You can send your 10-year old child on public transport at any time of the day and night and not have to worry whether your child will return.
One of the main reasons that our society is probably one of the safest in the world is that we take a very tough approach on drugs. If a drug trafficker traffics in a quantity which can supply 300 drug abusers for a week, he could face the death penalty. This is not revenge; this is not vengeance. This is based on the principle of deterrence and clear rule of law.
We see a lot of focus on people who face the death penalty but you don’t see enough focus on their victims.
Drug traffickers impose immense penalties, including the death penalty, on their victims. Thousands of people die. We have stopped that in Singapore
Singapore Foreign Affairs Minister, K Shanmugam
-----------------------------------Suddenly, safe-injection sites are mainstream politics
January 10, 2017
One of the problems with being politically conservative in the most basic sense of the word — genetically suspicious of change — is that you can wind up looking lost and silly and backward when mainstream opinion on any given topic slingshots past you, as it often does in Canada. It only took about five years for opposition to same-sex marriage to go from a mainstream Liberal position to fodder for Liberal attack ads. About 15 minutes after the assisted dying law took effect, the news was full of people complaining children and people living in remote rural areas might be denied access.
We may now be at that point with safe-injections sites.To read more of Selley's garbage go here: http://news.nationalpost.com/full-comme ... 9643e0a368