A Solution That Gives Addicts Their Fix, but Doesn’t Fix Their Addiction
Illegal drugs have proven themselves as issues in cities large and small for centuries, and there is seemingly no way to rid the streets of their presence. Numerous issues have arisen on their behalf, from gang violence to black market trading. For a city, this is never a good thing, considering tourism and property value alike. Vancouver has sought many solutions to their drug problem, heroin specifically, and has come up with a rather unorthodox plan. Instead of setting up traditional rehabilitation centers with goals of curing heroin addicts of their addiction, they are installing heroin clinics, where addicts can sign up and go to get a supply of their fix. The hope of this program is to eliminate a significant amount of drug-related crime and violence by providing the drugs to the addicts directly. With this in place, it is also hopeful that addicts will then be able to divert their focus to other things, possibly leading to a better standard of life for them and those around them. However, this remains to be seen actually working, and will require a good deal of time before it can be determined whether or not it was ultimately successful or not. As of now, the program remains questionable; it does not fulfill all of the promises it initially made.
Violence over drugs is a result of the drugs being hard to obtain; they are illegal so smuggling and hiding the substances is common practice for those who wish to use them in some way. If centers are installed that hand out heroin like candy, surely violence then becomes a non-issue. No longer are addicts forced to find third party vendors for their fix. The problem here is, the centers do not hand out heroin like candy. There is a long, tedious process to sign up for them to make sure you are appropriately receiving the drug. This is a necessity to preventing unwanted hands on the heroin, but it also means that the addicts that should be getting it have a lot of red tape to cut through. Statistics show this, with only a few hundred heroin addicts currently enrolled in the program while thousands exist in the city. Surely these are not odds in favor of the program, hinting that the success predicted is not pulling through.
An addict’s life is ruled by his addiction. Focus is always on when they can get their next fix, or if they can at all. Some will go through horrific measures just to get their high, despite it costing them. That is, if it’s difficult to get it in the first place. With heroin centers distributing the drug, it is proposed that this will no longer be an issue for the addict. They can then, because they no longer have to worry about their heroin, focus on other aspects of life, such as holding down a job or spending more time with family. On the contrary, however, events unfolding like this might not be as surefire as they are laid out to be. It is hard to believe that addicts will suddenly experience a shift in life goals after getting free smack. What evidence is there to support that they won’t get even more involved in drug-related activities after they enroll? This program does not automatically spell future success, it can also spell future failure.
It is always a possibility that everything will work out the way it is desired and that a happy ending will always be the final result. However, the likelihood of that happening is slim and a lot of obstacles stand in the way. Vancouver’s heroin program fits in that model, being very hopeful but also setting itself up for a probably failure. While it is indeed a new and innovative practice for solving a citywide drug problem, it is far from a solution.
- NEW SOURCE: Woo, Andrea. “Vancouver Addicts Soon to Receive Prescription Heroin.”The Globe and Mail. The Globe and Mail, 22 Nov. 2014. Web. 17 Nov. 2015.
- Campbell, Bradley. “Vancouver Combats Heroin by Giving Its Addicts the Best Smack in the World.” Public Radio International. PRI’s The World, 9 Feb. 2015. Web. 03 Nov. 2015.