SHOULD WE HAVE DRUG INJECTION SITES?

Montreal’s municipal gvernment has given conditional support to the city getting its first drug-injection site — a clean well-lighted place inside of which drug users could shoot up cocaine, heroin or anything else, with a nurse on hand to supervise.  Indeed city hall wants three such sites plus a large van that could travel around the city offering the same service to a less mobile clientele.

The experience of North America’s first such site in Vancouver showed that such sites could prevent overdose deaths, avert the spread of disease from dirty needles and assist the entry of addicts into detox programs.

As of now about 70 Montrealers a year die from overdoses and injection-transmitted diseases such as HIV and hepatitis C so the sooner these sites are up and running the sooner lives will be saved.

Still, there is opposition to these plans.  Would you want such a drug injection site in your neighborhood?  Such a site could attract people with mental health problems, beggars and sellers of drugs.

One suggestion is to put such sites inside CLSCs and hospitals.  But would the addicts go to these institutions?

Would you agree to a drug injection site in your neighborhood.

Should we have drug injection sites to save lives?

What do you think

19 Comments »

  1. 1

    “Such a site could attract people with mental health problems, beggars and sellers of drugs.”

    The answer to that is to do what Vancouver did — put the site where those folks already are living in abundance. Montreal has a drugs ghetto, right? Every big city does…

    “One suggestion is to put such sites inside CLSCs and hospitals. But would the addicts go to these institutions?”

    No. They definitely would not. InSite is where it is because that’s where the users are…who are there because that’s where the drugs and the dealers are. Someone with an injection addiction will not save his drugs until he gets to a hospital, he will inject immediately he can find a place to do so, ’cause then no one can steal it from him.

  2. 2

    No, I would not want an injection site in my neighbourhood.
    I wouldn’t live in a neighbourhood where I would have to check the park for needles before my kids could play or where there would be an injection site.
    More mobile units, would be more suitable. The permanent sites WOULD definitely attract dealers and
    the riff-raff that hang out with the dealers, who are far more dangerous than the users.
    The cost of saving a few lives may be too high.
    I know this comment will start a firestorm from a couple of bloggers.
    I have sympathy for the mentally ill and drug dependents, but not at the expense of exposing innocent families to danger.
    Don’t play the “poverty” card.
    If the government installs an injection site, they should also pay a one time moving expense for anyone who wants to move away.

  3. 3
    Neil McKenty Says:

    Iss there a logical discontinuity in aa country where hard drugs are illegal and at the same time providing legal sites for hard drugs?

  4. 4

    “I wouldn’t live in a neighbourhood where I would have to check the park for needles before my kids could play or where there would be an injection site.”

    And where do you live that you have such a pristine environment, untouched by humanity? The thing is, InSite and other clinics like it, are there to prevent exactly what you fear. You might want to rethink your logic on that one.

    And the only people who “live” there are the street people.

  5. 5

    “Iss there a logical discontinuity in aa country where hard drugs are illegal and at the same time providing legal sites for hard drugs?”

    Two different things, altogether, Neil, and in order to understand the issue, you have to be able to differentiate between them. On one side is the legality of it. On the other side is the medical aspect. InSite is medical. And, because it saves lives and actually promotes rehab as a viable option (with some considerable success, I might add — much more than prisons, where you can find drugs in abundance), the cops leave it alone so long as it stays peaceful. Which it does. The folks who use it see to that.

  6. 6

    Montreal is proposing the use of CLSC’s and hospitals as sites.
    The east end of Montreal is rife with crack houses, lowdown bars, alleyways, and many areas where users, pushers & prostitutes hang out. Among them are many homes, duplexes and flats where families try to live. There are schools and viable communities, but for…
    It may be a different dynamic than Vancouver, where only street people live.

    I do live in a pristine community, South West of Montreal. We moved our family here so we didn’t have to contend with the vulgarities of city life. We commuted to “the big evil metropolis” (joke, of course) to earn our living. I knew that we were doing the right thing when my daughter (10 at the time) said in sign language “I’m happy inside”. Profound!

  7. 7

    I just heard on the news that InSite is adding a new feature to its services today. They’re giving free shots of potable alcohol to severly addicted alcoholics. It’s called a maintenance dose, and it keeps them from drinking mouthwash, hairspray, shoe polish, and squeeze — all of which can kill them faster than the potable stuff.

    The local director of all the twelve-step programs is upset about it. He sees all those drunks as his personal flock, and he does NOT want them to have that option!

  8. 8

    This is all very nice , and I don`t wish those addicts and other folks any harm. But,is there any mention in all of this of helping them to get off this stuff , or are we all supposed to feel good that they aren`t killing themselves with dirty needles,only with sterilised ones ?

    I see these guys all in the ,begging for spare change. I suppose that they have no hope,or at least feel that way. But I still don`t understand how helping their addiction improves their lot in life.

  9. 9

    Phil, you and everyone else ned to stop thinking it’s about “helping” their addiction. It’s not about that. It’s about helping them stay alive long enough to make the move to rehab on their own. Evidence shows that when an addict moves to rehab on his own, without pressure from others, he has a MUCH better chance of not only making it all the way through, but of making a better life for himself afterwards.

  10. 10
    Jim Says:

    Lady Janus – You noted “Local director of all the twelve-step programs is upset about it” This job sounds interesting to me. May I ask which organization has set up such a position. Thanking you in advance,
    Phil – What Lady Janus states in her last comment is correct. But there is also another motive by the city fathers which is rarely mentioned and that is to help drug addict get their “fix” before they “run out of time” and then have to tap someone on the head and relieve the victim of their pension money. Another is to help stop the spread of STDs as some are killers.

  11. 11

    Finally, hat’s off to anyone trying to find a solution.
    There had better be an answer soon, judging by the numbers of kids in special education classes today, and the drop out rates, we are in for a wave of addicted.

  12. 12

    Lady J.

    How many of them actually do seek out help ? I don`t remember where , but I recall reading where these projects get very mixed results.

  13. 13

    “May I ask which organization has set up such a position.”

    Alcoholics Anonymous. I believe they’re in the book.

    “How many of them actually do seek out help ?”

    More of them than seek it out by force or coercion. For actual numbers, (they were mentioned, but I did not take notes), you could contact InSite.

  14. 14
    Tony Kondaks Says:

    littlepatti:

    Do you know sign language? I see you made reference to it.

  15. 15

    Yes, I am fluent. So is all of our family. Why do you ask?

  16. 16
    Jim Says:

    Lady Janus – My friends in AA tell me that AA does not have any directors, local or otherwise, and especially someone who is in charge of flocks, and all the other 12 step programs. May I also add that an alcoholic is allowed to attend AA meetings even though he has gone for the “shots”. AA will not get into this type of crosstalk, however, I do practice correcting any misinformation about AA. as a token for what AA has done to help my friends. Finally, in my exuberance, I must always remember that AA does not need defending, they are doing just fine without me.

  17. 17

    Thanks Jim, for clarifying. I think it’s good that you defend AA, most of us don’t know as much as we should about it. I don’t know about drug addictions but I was a smoker. I succeeded quitting when I admitted that I could never have a puff of a cigarette again. It’s been 15 years. Alcoholics say it’s the same- They can never have a drink again, and usually have to hit rock bottom before they look for recovery. Our family had a history of alcoholism-3 generations deep, and I grew up very fearful that I could fall into the trap. I am still very sensitive to the tell-tale combative, belligerent signs. Our church holds a weekly AL-ANON meeting and it’s
    very successful.

  18. 18

    Jim, I didn’t say AA had a director. I said the twelve steps programs (of which AA is one) have a director…apparently a self-appointed one, if your information is valid. Whatever/whoever he is, he has set himself up to speak for the twelve step programs. And he does NOT like InSite’s new policy of maintenance shots to alcoholics in need.

  19. 19
    Jim Says:

    Lady (alias WTF) Janus –
    You said, “The local director of all the twelve-step programs is upset about it” (Re InSite giving free shots of potable alcohol to severly addicted alcoholics)
    Having read your remark, I then asked you, “May I ask which organization has set up such a position?
    You answered, “Alcoholics Anonymous.They’re in the book.”
    NOW you say, “I didn’t say AA had a director. I said the twelve-step programs (of which AA is one) have a director” (Duh).
    THEN, you get into writing about self-appointed types. Some of these types have escaped from the twitch farm and by happenstance strolled into an AA meeting for a free cup of java. They are not members of AA.
    NOW Lady Janus – About your sipping problem, I know of a place…….


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