Fw: [DrugWar] Canada: Is Free Heroin Just a Quick Fix?

Preston Peet ptpeet at nyc.rr.com
Mon Jan 31 09:45:52 EST 2005


snip from the article below:

>"Sometimes you need something just to relax and get your mind together,
instead of always being in a state of panic. That's what's killing everyone
down here," she said, pointing to the throngs of bedraggled souls shuffling
along East Hastings Street. Like Ms. Woelke, they must hit the pavement
every day to raise enough cash for their drugs. Most steal. Many women work
as prostitutes.

"They have to do things they wouldn't normally do."

This is exactly what some of Canada's top addiction experts want to find
out when they begin the first heroin prescription trial in North America.

If heroin addicts are freed of their daily chase for drugs, if it is given
to them three times a day like medicine, can they change their lives for
the better?<

This woman has it nailed with her comment about the panic being what's 
killinng all her addict frieds and acquaintances on the streets.
There's more below. Too awesome. This is what we should be doing, ALONG with 
offering addicts ibogaine and methadone and whatever else it may take to get 
them to a point where THEY, the ADDICTS- not Nick, or the Court, or Preston 
Peet, or the police and judges, or Bill W., or the Bwiti, or whomever it is- 
feel they are most happy. Not "they're a drag," not they just be integrated 
into society along with everyone else, not they must be forced into 
participating in life, none of that is a good criteria for action or even 
worthy goals IN MY OPINION. The main goals in my mind are to enable each and 
every person to live happily as possible to the extent they are not hurting 
others while making themselves happy, to reduce as many possible harms to 
the addict and the rest of society too without forcing anyone into anything 
against their will.
    I'm pretty sure that the authorities involved in this effort will notice 
a drop in crime on the part of the participant, and even probably a climb in 
things like employemnnt and other markers like this.


Peace and love,
Preston Peet

"Madness is not enlightenment, but the search for enlightenment is often 
mistaken for madness"
Richard Davenport-Hines

ptpeet at nyc.rr.com
Editor http://www.drugwar.com
Editor "Under the Influence- the Disinformation Guide to Drugs"
Editor "Mysterious Roots- The Disinformation Guide to Ancient Civilizations, 
Explorations and Enigmas" (due out Sept. 2005)
Cont. High Times mag/.com
Cont. Editor http://www.disinfo.com
Columnist New York Waste
Etc.

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Richard Lake" <rlake at mapinc.org>
To: <drugwar at mindvox.com>
Sent: Monday, January 31, 2005 8:20 AM
Subject: [DrugWar] Canada: Is Free Heroin Just a Quick Fix?


> Newshawk: CMAP http://www.mapinc.org/cmap
> Pubdate: Mon, 31 Jan 2005
> Source: Globe and Mail (Canada)
> Page: A1 - Front Page
> Copyright: 2005, The Globe and Mail Company
> Contact: letters at globeandmail.ca
> Website: http://www.globeandmail.ca/
> Details: http://www.mapinc.org/media/168
> Author: Jane Armstrong
> Cited: Centre for Addiction and Mental Health http://www.camh.net/
> Cited: Canadian Institutes of Health Research http://www.cihr-irsc.gc.ca/
> Bookmark: http://www.mapinc.org/heroin.htm (Heroin)
> Bookmark: http://www.mapinc.org/find?136 (Methadone)
> Bookmark: http://www.mapinc.org/topics/Downtown+Eastside
>
> IS FREE HEROIN JUST A QUICK FIX?
>
> VANCOUVER -- On a warm, rainy Saturday morning, Debbie Woelke stops 
> pushing her shopping cart long enough to discuss the pros and cons of a 
> plan to give free heroin to drug addicts in Canada's poorest 
> neighbourhood.
>
> The heroin trial is all the talk of Vancouver's Downtown Eastside and Ms. 
> Woelke, 48, thinks it's a good idea. She might even apply, herself. "They 
> should have done this a long time ago," she said leaning on her cart, 
> which contains all her worldly belongings -- not groceries.
>
> Like other addicts, Ms. Woelke lives in a bleak rented room in a 
> residential hotel. Far better to be outside in the rain, even if it means 
> wheeling around your clothes all day.
>
> "Sometimes you need something just to relax and get your mind together, 
> instead of always being in a state of panic. That's what's killing 
> everyone down here," she said, pointing to the throngs of bedraggled souls 
> shuffling along East Hastings Street. Like Ms. Woelke, they must hit the 
> pavement every day to raise enough cash for their drugs. Most steal. Many 
> women work as prostitutes.
>
> "They have to do things they wouldn't normally do."
>
> This is exactly what some of Canada's top addiction experts want to find 
> out when they begin the first heroin prescription trial in North America.
>
> If heroin addicts are freed of their daily chase for drugs, if it is given 
> to them three times a day like medicine, can they change their lives for 
> the better?
>
> In a couple of weeks, the research team will begin taking applications 
> here in Vancouver and later in Toronto and Montreal from addicts who want 
> to be part of the study.
>
> Researchers are looking for hard-core addicts, people who have tried and 
> failed at least twice to get clean. In the three cities, there are spots 
> for 428 addicts, roughly half of whom will receive heroin for a year; the 
> other half will receive methadone, an artificial opiate that controls the 
> cravings for heroin.
>
> In Vancouver, the trials are causing a stir on the syringe-littered 
> streets of the city's skid row, home to more than 4,000 drug users. Among 
> those who deal first hand with these chaotic lives, there's a feeling that 
> Canada is breaking new ground in how it treats the most intractable of 
> drug addictions.
>
> Similar studies in the Netherlands and Switzerland have shown positive 
> results for addicts.
>
> "What if you could say to an addict, 'For the next little while, you're 
> not going to have to get your drugs from Al Capone. You can get your drugs 
> from Marcus Welby,' " said Dr. Martin Schechter, the project's lead 
> researcher.
>
> "You don't have to worry about this afternoon and this evening. And 
> therefore, you don't have to go and break in to cars or be a prostitute. 
> You could actually come and talk to a counsellor or . . . get some skills 
> training."
>
> It's a landmark study in North America, one that turns its back on 
> abstinence as the goal.
>
> But not everyone is thrilled with the prospect of free heroin for 
> hard-core addicts. And even supporters have expressed concern about the 
> ethics of offering heroin to addicts for a prescribed period of time. Is 
> it fair to yank away their heroin at the end of the year?
>
> Addiction experts in Canada have already expressed concerns about the risk 
> of overdoses.
>
> Last December, two staff physicians at Toronto's Centre for Addiction and 
> Mental Health wrote scathing critiques to the ethics adviser of the 
> Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the agency funding the study.
>
> Vancouver physician Stanley deVlaming is worried the trials are designed 
> to garner positive results. In Vancouver, 88 subjects are to receive 
> heroin, while 70 will receive methadone, the heroin substitute.
>
> "How meaningful will it be to compare the group of 88 elated subjects that 
> win the heroin lottery to the group of 70 who were also desperately trying 
> to get the free heroin, but lost the luck of the draw?" asked Dr. 
> deVlaming, who has treated addicts in the Downtown Eastside for more than 
> a dozen years.
>
> "The first group would likely be very motivated to give the researchers 
> positive results, while the second disappointed and disgruntled group 
> randomized to methadone would be much less motivated."
>
> As expected, the plan has rankled U.S. drug officials, specifically the 
> office of White House drug czar John Walters, where an official called it 
> an unethical and "inhumane medical experiment."
>
> Offering free heroin to addicts when there are proven treatments for 
> addiction can't be justified if the addict's desire is to get off drugs, 
> policy analyst David Murray said.
>
> "What you're doing is making it easier to be a heroin addict," he said 
> from Washington. "These people won't get that much better in the long run. 
> They will still be heroin addicts."
>
> Washington's disapproval was expected and hasn't deterred Ottawa from 
> funding the study. The Canadian Institutes of Health Research has 
> committed $8.1-million for the trials.
>
> In Vancouver, the plan has the support of top politicians and law 
> enforcers, including the mayor and the police chief.
>
> Mayor Larry Campbell, who was once a coroner and drug cop, said the trials 
> are needed because current treatments aren't working for hard-core 
> addicts.
>
> "The critical thing is to accept this as a medical condition," Mr. 
> Campbell said.
>
> "The side effects of this medical condition is that it forces you to . . . 
> do things that you would never do, be it work as a sex-trade worker, be a 
> B and E [break-and-enter] artist or a purse snatcher. So if I can mitigate 
> that by putting you on heroin, imagine the changes you could have."
>
> Right now, the trial is waiting for Health Canada to grant the necessary 
> exemption form the Canadian Narcotics Act.
>
> Ms. Woelke said she plans to tell her friends to apply. She would be 
> content to get on the methadone program.
>
> "Methadone, whatever," she said shrugging her shoulders. "I need something 
> every day."
>
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