One of the greatest contradictions of Canada’s “sheepish” war on drugs as been the connection between the cost of health to our healthcare system and the battle to regulate what the State thinks is good or bad for its citizens. The criminalization of drugs is a recent phenomenon that is just over a hundred years old, and was born out of attacking specific marginal and ethnic groups. Canada has a very deep cultural love affair with illegal narcotics, and none could be more so than with marijuana. But for whatever stance you choose in your ideology, albeit the left or right, the drug culture in Canada isn’t going to go away any time soon, and we have to deal with that.
Insite was born out of long term thinking and the concept of rehabilitation; in other words, having a safe place to be that offers hope is a better approach than by pushing it underground and letting the long term effects eat away at our society. The logic behind Insite is simple: safety and hope. The people who use the facility are addicted to drugs, and are at the bottom of the social ladder. Further criminalization is not going to “fix” them, but rather push them deeper into marginalization.
The nay-sayers seems to start off with the line, “If you prohibit drugs and the use of it, then that will fix the problem… .”
I argue that the nay-sayer, has not found the root cause of the problem, but has only made it even worse than the act of using the drugs in the first place. The nay-sayer needs to ask why that person has chosen to take the drugs in the first place. However, it is easer to criminalize something than to fix it—well, that seems to be Canada’s current model. But to become homeless and drug dependant means that that person has issues that go beyond the act of taking drugs. Then you reach a point where you have no where to go, you become vulnerable, and as a result you become more visible. From Hitler to Harper, the right-wing thinking is to invoke prohibition against specific marginal groups that do not appeal to middle and upper class standards, and to simply criminalize something that does not adhere to those standards seems to be the answer.
What insite does is to give these people the chance to use clean needles to inject themselves with in hopes of stopping the practice of sharing needles. The AIDS epidemic, and many other diseases too, has a direct correlation with this group of people with the sharing of needles, so it would make sense to offer clean needles than to deal with growing numbers of AIDS victims. Safety too is an issue with Insite because if that user needs further treatment, or decides to move towards kicking their habit, then there are people right there on site to offer that help. When the user is in the facility there are staff on hand that can promptly offer help if that person is in distress. I think it is far better than having someone injecting drugs in some back alley in the middle of Vancouver.
I totally agree with the British Columbia Court of Appeal on their decision to keep the jurisdiction of Instie with British Columbia’s authority, and thus allowing the facility to stay open without Federal interference. The Federal government should stop wasting our tax money on fighting this. Remember that the majority of Canadians did not vote for Harper!