Mixing messages

Crack users on the Downtown Eastside are now being given crack-smoking kits, complete with lighters, pipes, filters and instructions on how to smoke crack. The boxes — they’re about the same size as a cigarette packages — are paid for by the government and handed out by government-funded agencies on the Downtown Eastside.

I can’t speak for all the police officers who work in this area, but it would sure be nice to see a little more “don’t do,” and a little less “how-to” when it comes to drug education. But maybe that’s just me.

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48 Responses to Mixing messages

  1. Violet says:

    The kits are going out to people who are already using the drug – often unsafely – and not to people for whom the “don’t do it” message might still work. The majority of people don’t use crack (despite how it may start to feel in your line of work, and in mine as a HepC and harm-reduction focused outreach worker) and even if they’re given a kit, they’re not going to start using it as a result.

    The government isn’t condoning drug use – under the thumb in the second photo, you can clearly see the “crack is bad for you” message displayed – but they are acknowledging that people who use drugs are at a substantial risk for HepC (commonly spread through sharing crack pipes that don’t have mouthpieces to insulate the skin from burning).

    Substance users don’t live in a vacuum – they are part of society – and anything that befalls them (like HepC and HIV) are quickly transmitted to non-substance users (like police, for example, who search bags and find uncapped syringes and broken glass pipes, sexual partners, family members..). If we prevent HepC and HIV from spreading, we reduce the risk for everyone.

    It would be lovely if no one used drugs. Since that’s impossible, it would be lovely if everyone used those drugs in a safer way – with less negative impact on themselves and their communities.

    • Paramed student says:

      So by the same reasoning we should teach people to “drink and drive safely”? They are going to do it anyway, right? Drunk drivers are part of society and if we can reduce their risks then we reduce the risks for everyone.

      Contrary to popular belief, people just don’t wake up out of the blue and addicted to crack. Somewhere in their life, they CHOOSE. Please don’t mistake me for someone who does not realise the sheer shite-ness of their lives, I know they are incredibly broken people who live a daily horror show I could not imagine. But instead of helping them to maintain their addiction to an illegal and highly damaging drug, how about we put those resources into helping those who want to get out?

      • ZK says:

        Funny you should mention drinking & driving, because the concept of a “designated driver” is a perfect example of this theory in action. Drinking to excess is bad for you (and potentially for those around you), so we encourage people, if they are going to drink, to have a safe way home. I see very little difference between that and this.

        And I would agree that more resources should be put into treatment and rehab programs, but what about people who can’t access treatment? Or are on the waiting list? Should they be left to get HIV & Hep C because they can’t find someone to take care of their child for the 6 week duration of the treatment program? Also, the workers at services such as this can act as a bridge to get people into treatment who otherwise may not go.

        P.S. – compared to the cost of treating someone for HIV or Hep C, this program costs *nothing*.

      • PrincessDarcy says:

        I agree Paramed.

        With over a $1M spent daily by gov’t in the DTES, I’m sad to think this is part of it. Yes, Violet is right and giving these kits to non users is as likely to make them start crack as making condoms available to teens is going to encourage sex (which is not at all), but it would be nice if there was at least a local number or contact information for those who receive the kit and have even an inkling to getting clean…

        Just because a strictly ‘don’t do’ message isn’t feasible doesn’t mean that every effort should be made to make ‘don’t do it’ the biggest message, even when we’re helping them ‘do it’ safer.

  2. Denise says:

    Steve, please tell me this is an April Fool’s joke?

  3. JoeFrmEdm says:

    Unbelievable !!!

  4. g says:

    Because “don’t do” has proven to work so well?

  5. DC says:

    I agree with you. It even comes in a stylish package with a cute stylized nurse and only a small skull and bones graphic and health warning. Compared to cigarette packaging this crack kit is quite hip.

  6. JustSayin says:

    Agreed – this can only be an April Fool’s Day joke…..

  7. H says:

    I understand the concept of harm reduction, But why directions? How does offering directions on ‘how to smoke crack’ help or play a role in harm reduction?! This is appalling. We are enabling addicts and at what point will we stop?

    Steve- I can’t even begin to imagine how hard it is to police the DTES when illegal activity is so widely and openly accepted.

  8. c says:

    Yeah Steve, the “don’t do drugs” philosophy has proven so effective over the years, after all!

  9. Tamara says:

    I also agree with “Paramed student”, this post really shocked me as I had no idea that this project was being funded. I drive through the DTES everyday to and from work and I feel like these funds could be better put to use funding more treatment options for addicts who want to get help. We should be part of the solution rather than giving tools to aid the epidemic.

    Steve – Your blog is great. Every morning and evening as I pass through the DTES I wonder if this area will ever get better but your blog gives me a bit of clarity. You actually walked infront of my car at Abbott Street last week and it was nice to see you and your partner out patrolling, keeping the streets safe. Thank you for your service.

  10. c says:

    are you guys for real???

    yeah that makes sense, because people are smoking crack just because they now have the directions. They didn’t know how before, but now they do with those handy instructions, so they will obviously be smoking more. The fact that an entire body of scientific evidence shows initiatives like this are effective in KEEPING PEOPLE FROM DYING due to communicable disease be damned. It’s all about the instructions, we shouldn’t let them learn how. These are real, living, human beings–somebody’s son or daughter or neice or nephew, or mother or father we’re talking about.

    And while we’re at it, let’s make sure our kids don’t learn about safe sex, because if we give them instructions and the tools (condoms) they’ll just go out and do it more. And then we’ll have a real problem on our hands!!!

    • c says:

      Steve, I respectfully suggest you need to clarify your position on this with some more detail, because your post doesn’t provide much at all, and as it stands now it doesn’t offer much in the way of meaningful insight into this issue, as evidenced by some of the vapid comments above.

    • DC says:

      Actually for me I don’t have a problem with the instructions. People should be allowed to make choices that can harm them. People can choose not to exercise, choose to eat poorly, choose to engage in high risk activities. It shouldn’t be up to the state to decide what is good for us.

      In the same manner people should be responsible for their own choices. I shouldn’t be the one who has to pay because if I don’t the recipients of these kits won’t take it upon themselves to secure these kinds of kits.

      However, if we are going to pay for such kits I would like it to be a little more balanced with some obligation on the part of the recipient.

  11. Mark says:

    To the individual that compared this to teaching people to drink and drive, you clearly do not understand the mindset of an addict.

    Drinking and driving is a choice. It’s a choice made by people and those people drive impaired because they figure they will not get caught. The need for crack is not a choice. Have you ever seen someone that’s down sick (a person that is sick because they don’t have drugs). That person becomes uncontrollably violently ill. Let’s talk vomiting, the runs, hallucinations, shaking, and delirium.

    @Steve: Yes, it would be nice if more effort was directed at “don’t do” but you know that is not the reality. If we’re going to say “don’t do” we’re going to need offer a person easily accessible means to “not do”. It’s not the logic of that argument, it’s the execution. Pocket book citizens already see the DTES as a huge drain on public funds; I doubt they’ll be willing to open up their wallets to pay more.

    So this is once again where their are no good choices. This won’t stop crack use but nor will it start it. What it does is hopefully stops an addict from getting Hep or HIV thereby saving the system huge $$. It’s ugly and calculated but in the end, a realistic choice.

    Ya’ll cool with a tax increase to build more addiction beds? Most folks I know in the Lower Mainland are already furious at all the taxes they pay.

    • km says:

      There is no money for the kids in the school system but there is money to sponser crack addiction so long as we are sponsering safe crack addicts?
      I guess drunk drivers can expect government sponsered cabs in the near future…if you are gonna drink, please be safe ….sigh
      Meanwhile the youth of today struggle to get the education they need to become the responsible citizens of the future ….the kind of responsible citizens that pay for the crack kits that is. WOW how did this happen….

      • Mark says:

        @KM.

        Unfair comparison to your claim about “government sponsored cabs for drunks”. A guy going to his local pub that has way to many and drives home had the capacity to MAKE a decision before he leaves. Crack addiction is something entirely different.

        I have thought long and hard on how to educate someone that only “looks in” to the world of addiction from outside, and I think I’ve found a way……Here is how powerful addiction is.

        Consider the life of a DTES street walker (prostitute) that has addictions (crack, meth). This individual is willing to put her life at risk each time she gets in a car. She’s willing to endure clients who are abusive or outright violent. She’s willing to engage a male who may have incredibly poor hygiene: no teeth, rotting skin, a person that has never bathed (think Willie Pickton). Further to that, even after Pickton was known as a “bad date” (prostitutes have a very good communication system) women would still get in his truck. Why? They NEEDED drugs. And sharing needles aside, many of these addicts are willing to engage in unsafe sex when extra money is offered. If these women run out of condoms while working they may well continue working bareback.

        And males desperate for drugs will sometimes engage in male prostitution even when they are straight. Cost of the typical sex act for both males & females? Between $40-60 dollars. At the height of the crack epidemic in cities like Detroit, addicts would offer sexual services for prices as low as $2.75. Because they needed $2.75 for their next stone. I have experienced this first hand.

        One of the most disturbing things I ever heard was the answer to a question that was asked to a female crack addict. When asked about being sexually assaulted, she commented that she wasn’t sure how many times it happened & that her attitude was hurry up and finish so I can get back out there.

        As for keeping someone “locked” in a facility, clearly you’ve never seen someone suffering dope sickness. Coming off addiction to crack is not like quitting smoking. Dope sickness & the need is incredibly powerful. Powerful enough to get you to climb in a truck with a pig farmer even when you know it may be your last date.

        Give it some thought.

        • km says:

          Is it possible to get off crack without dope sickness or is it just something you have to endure to get to the other side? You have to detox to get into treatment so if there is any hope to beat the drugs, you have to be willing to endure the detox phase.

          I don’t see a difference between drug addiction and alcohol addiction (including withdrawl) so comparing cab fare with crack kits still seems like a valid comparison to me.

          If you are saying addicts cannot help themselves, than that just lends strengh to my assumption that a locked facility is the only option….. like a locked hospital ward is where people with certain medical issues they cannot control end up

          as for:”I have thought long and hard on how to educate someone that only “looks in” to the world of addiction from outside, and I think I’ve found a way……Here is how powerful addiction is. ”

          …..not sure why you would think I don’t have first hand experience with addicition…not a fair assumption to make unfortunately.

          To beat it you have to own it and you have to be willing to do what needs to be done to get better….take responsibility for your own role in the addiction …blaming past or people is useless….

          Stay safely secured until you can complete the rehab….we used to do this for the people with mental illness who needed help….why not for addicts too?

          If you choose the criminal lifestyle …then you are choosing all that entails….society cannot condone this lifestyle as it is putting too many other people at risk

          • Mark says:

            @KM

            Beating addiction is more complex than you see to understand. You mention we should “lock up” people in a hospital. That’s incredibly simplistic because it fails to address the underlying issues of why the person became an addict. Have you ever quit smoking? Usually when folks quit smoking they also alter their habits until they’re past the addiction stage (for example they may not have a morning coffee because that is associated with a cigarette).

            Well it’s the same for those addicted to crack except the “cup of coffee” example is more likely to be mental or sexual abuse coupled with other tragedy often over a period of years (or perhaps a lifetime). So you lock up a person who is an addict until they are “clean”. Have you dealt with the underlying problems that lead to the addiction? The physical, mental and sexual abuse? And where do you send them? Put ‘em in a taxi and send em back to Oppenheimer Park?

            And blaming the past for your addiction is useless? So the 15 year old that gets sexually, mentally and physically assault by her Dad should stop blaming the past? Should she just move on?

            Rehab is about more than kicking an addiction KM. It’s about dealing with the demons that got you to the point when you started USING the drugs. Crack is a symptom of a much bigger problem. No one walks out of Save On Meats after lunch and says “Yeah, I think I wanna be a crack head & heads down to Pigeon Park to score”.

            Again, the destructive powers of drugs are best exemplified by the Pickton example. Not only did those women get in the truck of a dirty, creepy, stinking man. They did so even when Pickton was a bad date & rumours about “the farm” circulated at WISH.

            That’s how powerful addiction is. For many, the pain of getting clean is akin to being tortured. All you want is that feeling to go away. And in that frame of mind you certainly aren’t planning your future.

          • km says:

            That is why I would think locked up to be safe UNTIL a treatment bed can be had would be perfect.

            I do believe you have to stop blaming events of the past if you want to move on…applies to many of life circumstances…including addiction. Let it go or let it bring you down….it’s another of the many choices we all make every day. Never said it was easy…but necssary and easy are not always the same thing.

            People who have successfully survived a negative start to life and have either not succumbed to addiction or have beaten the addiction should be consulted for the solution. There seems to be a need to change the approach.

  12. km says:

    I wonder how much it would cost to house an addict in a locked facility until they can find a treatment bed? The facility could keep them housed, fed and safe until treatment spaces are available. Harm elemination for the addict and cleaner streets for the tax payers….
    Would this idea cost more than the amount already being spent in the DTES? Has this idea already been explored?

  13. Steve (not the cop) says:

    I agree with ‘Paramed student’, Steve, and others.

    I have seen similar kits to these being given out in the city where I am. Not only are they being given out, but they are being delivered by addicts to other addicts – as if a courier service of sorts. No need even for people to come to a centre – delivery is included in the free price.

    I don’t agree with this approach. Violet, in the first post here, says that these kits are going out to those “who are already using – often unsafely”. Whether a given individual is using ‘safely’ or unsafely is largely unknown when these kits are given to them. (The term ‘using safely’ is, of course, very relative. Is it truly possible to use/ingest a harmful substance ‘safely’?)
    What bothers me is the attitude that ‘well, these kits are being given out to those already using, so as long as it’s not enticing new users, it’s ok’.
    To me, this attitude seems to be treating those who are already using as if they are hopeless – as in: ‘They’ll be users/junkies all their lives, until they die their early death. There is no hope for these people – the best we can do is encourage them to be a little safer in their drug use. That they continue their drug use and continue to live in their profound unhappiness and misery is just part of the bargain and it cannot be helped’.
    I think they deserve better than that.

    For those who are sarcastically saying “Yeah, because ‘don’t do it’ has worked so well, right”… well, the primary manner in which the ‘don’t do it’ approach has been taken is in a punitive manner – as in ‘don’t do it because it’s illegal’, ‘don’t do it because you’ll go to jail’, etc.
    When has a truly compassionate-based approach – with the goal of quitting/kicking/abstinence ever been tried on a large scale? Has it? Ever? Anywhere? Not that I’m aware of. It is the approach of some rehab centres, but as far as street level intervention goes, it has been largely a punitive-based approach or a harm reduction-based ‘use more safely’ approach.

    I’m currently reading Gabor Maté’s book ‘In The Realm of Hungry Ghosts’ – about addiction and his experiences in the DTES. There is much of the book that I am very much in agreement with – most notably his call for a compassionate approach to these vulnerable, fragile, very injured people. But I don’t agree with his definition that harm reduction – and giving out ‘crack kits’ like these – is part of a compassionate approach.
    I applaud that, though he encourages the harm reduction approach, Maté still seems to feel that rehabilitation and kicking the habit(s) ought to be the ultimate goal. But I don’t feel that the harm reduction approach is the correct path to reach the destination of rehabilitation or abstinence or a healthy life free of drugs.

    In Maté’s book, he states that we should accept these addicts as they are. Well, they are very often down and out, incredibly fragile, vulnerable, pitiful, unhappy as all hell, unhealthy, and miserable. If we accept them as they are, is this helping them? If we accept them as they are, where then is the incentive and encouragement for them to progress beyond this terrible stage – to the level of health and happiness – coming from?

    Shouldn’t the message be that, because we genuinely care about these people, we cannot accept them as they are – miserable and hurting and unhealthy? That we will do everything we can to encourage them to get out of that terrible and chaotic downward spiral?
    Don’t we have a responsibility – and an obligation – to we aim higher than simply accepting them as they are, and even helping to maintain them there?

  14. Denise says:

    What if we took all of our money being spent on harm reduction (insite, free crack pipes, free counselling, free needles etc.) and spent it on arresting the top players providing the drugs? At the same time, creating zero tolerance laws for those top players. Give them a consequence they might be fearful of rather than the joke of a justice system we have now. People are going to use drugs and die, it’s a fact of life. Just like liquor. We need to get over ourselves and realize that saving people is not our responsibility. Each person is responsible for themselves. Have help available if they ask for it. Why give money to people who will end up ingesting it? If that’s not enabling, I don’t know what is. Why aren’t we providing kits to alcoholics to help with hangovers? Just because liquor is legal?

    The pendulum has swung too far and we have somehow allowed ourselves to become slaves to drug addicts. Lose the guilt trip and spend the money in schools educating students on how to deal with the emotional issues (depression, abusive parents, bullying etc) that end up putting some of them on the streets. Those kids don’t have parents at home to help them grow mentally and emotionally. Preventing the need to do drugs is far more potent than handing out free tools of the trade when they are already in the pit.

    I’m no professional in the DTES, just a regular person. I don’t know the stats of how many people are saved using harm reduction, but I’m tired of hearing about my money supporting a system that obviously isn’t working. Just look at Steve’s pictures comparing a corner of the DTES now versus the past. Pictures speak volumes.

    • c says:

      this has been done. See USA. Look at their correctional and drug enforcement figures.

    • Steve (not the cop) says:

      Denise… while I agree that educating the young “on how to deal with emotional issues” is most definitely needed – especially today when so many parents are emotionally and psychologically absent from their children’s lives – I do take issue with some of your other comments, which are quite cold and lacking in compassion…

      Denise wrote:
      “We need to get over ourselves and realize that saving people is not our responsibility. “
      I believe that it certainly is our responsibility – as emotionally and psychologically healthy individuals, and as a culture as a whole – to help those who, due to one circumstance or another, are unable to help themselves.

      Denise wrote:
      “Each person is responsible for themselves.
      Ultimately, and ideally, perhaps. But history has proven over and over again that some people fail at the concept of responsibility – responsibility toward themselves, and/or toward others, and/or in general. The reasons that they are irresponsible can vary, but it is very often due to negative circumstances earlier in their lives (childhood, for example) that were well beyond their control.
      One does not magically become responsible at the age of majority. Responsibility – like self-confidence, self-worth, etc. – is a direct product of a healthy nurturing. Where there has been no healthy nurturing (through no fault of the subsequently irresponsible person), there is a high likelihood to be a lack of responsibility, a lack of self-worth, a lack of self confidence, etc.

      Personally, I’d like to see considerably more compassion for these people, rather than a self-serving, convenient perspective of ‘everyone is responsible for him/herself’ and/or ‘their lives are not my problem’.

      Denise wrote:
      “Have help available if they ask for it.”
      And how, exactly are they to get to the point of asking for help?
      In order to ask for help, one needs to possess at least a degree of self-worth, self-confidence, and responsibility.
      The attitude of ‘If they don’t ask for help, then to hell with them’ is extremely self-serving, and quite obviously does absolutely nothing to help those most in need of help.

      I see the primary role of those who work with this troubled street population as being to attempt to get the needy person into a position where he/she will A) realize they need help, B) want help, C) ask for help, and D) accept help.
      In other words, to foster and encourage the individual’s self-confidence, self-worth, and sense of responsibility. Only after this has been achieved can the troubled person become (a necessary) part of the process which will help them progress beyond the miserable point they are at.

  15. D. En says:

    especially for “Denise” and “km”:
    As legit as your concerns are, and as much as I agree with Steve (the cop) on how it is galling that so much design has gone into making this kit look good;
    and at the danger of repeating what others have said:
    -These kits save the taxpayer money (for the reasons outlined above). Period.
    -esp. for “Denise:” Numerous historians, e.g. Lani Russwurm, have shown pretty convincingly that the DTES has not just recently become a magnet for addicts. (for that matter, the first time I saw the corner of Hastings and Main didn’t seem so bad, the second time broke my heart)
    -Any approach to the drug problem needs to be comprehensive. It’s my impression that Steve gets this (though he–I guess because he has to–is not very vocal on his preferred policy mix), and I agree that the liberal camp (which i guess I’m part of) is sometimes more self-righteous about their ideas than is constructive.
    But zero tolerance approaches have been tried and tested, and found to not solve the problem either. Look no further than those countries that have the death sentence for selling or smuggling drugs — markets that serve this demand (and as horribly sad as this is) will exist, no matter how much you raise the stakes for the participants.

  16. Barrett says:

    Uh, folks:

    While it’s easy to be disgusted with the money pouring into the DTES with little tangible positive benefits, handing out some decent crack pipes can easily be cheaper than a few ambulance rides and medical treatment when shoddy pipes explode in someone’s mouth. You’re missing the big picture here: that it’s less money to reduce the harm, than it is to ignore it and clean up the pieces. Paramedics, nurses, doctors, we pay for them all. Then the theft. That hunk of rubber costs a lot more when it’s ripped off a car parked overnight, between police to investigate, the environmental cleanup team, and not even going into the repair costs borne by the individual.

    I think you will find that the real problems stem from cutting back on mental health care. When the provincial budget gets tight, it’s really easy to cut back on something that doesn’t affect reliable voters.

    • g says:

      Beautifully put Barrett, thank you.

    • Sue says:

      @ Barrett – Thank you

      • km says:

        I recognize the assumption is that it costs less to hand out crack pipes, needles etc than it is to treat the victim in a hospital setting. How that assumption is converted to fact and quantified is another story….

        I agree that we need more mental health beds. A safe and secure environment where people can be housed and fed until they are ready to deal with the addiction and until they can commit to living by the laws and social norms of society

        I am going to Google Harm Reduction and the theory behind it to gain a better understanding…as someone else posted…safely harming yourself is still harming….something does not jive

  17. Nikki says:

    Well kids, don’t do drugs, but if you do, here’s a how-to guide…..Nothing spells defeat like a government funded crack-kit courier service. Just in case you couldn’t make it government funded injected site.

  18. Ryan Beasley says:

    This may be a good preventative measure in terms of being able to reduce the spread of disease, but it isn’t sending the right message to anyone. The only message of caution written on the box is some generic warning saying, “Crack is bad for you.” Why not put some message of encouragement, at least? Something like, “there is a hope for you, and there is a way out of this place,” possibly with a phone number to somewhere that can actually give help and guidance. If you put that message in their face every time they look to shoot up, then at least there is something there that can convict them to the fact that there is a better place for them, and that there is always hope.

    • Sue says:

      @Ryan – you don’t know any addicts do you?

    • Steven says:

      “Why not put some message of encouragement, at least? Something like, “there is a hope for you, and there is a way out of this place,” possibly with a phone number to somewhere that can actually give help and guidance. If you put that message in their face every time they look to shoot up, then at least there is something there that can convict them to the fact that there is a better place for them, and that there is always hope.”

      As a recovering addict, I can tell you that if messages like that were out there it would NOT make a using addict stop using. In fact, messages like that *are* out there, everywhere, already. If an addict *wants* to quit using and get help, trust me, we know where we need to go and what we need to do. It’s that whole darn *want to* issue that gets in the way.

    • Steve (not the cop) says:

      I agree in principle, Ryan.
      And, Sue, yes, I know many addicts.

      Addicts typically care little for themselves… and so they often cannot grasp the concept that others can – and do – care about them. Sort of a “No one cares about me – I’m a piece of sh!t” kind of perspective.
      And so encouragement and positive enforcement and sending the message that there are people out there who DO genuinely care – and perhaps even understand – can only be a positive thing.

      Also… what’s with the step-by-step instructions on the ‘Crack Kit’? If they are to be given to those who are already using, I would think that they already know how to use, and are already following these steps. The ‘safety’ (very relative) comes primarily from not sharing the paraphernalia, not so much from the method used to ingest. Once they acquire the ‘Crack Kits’, which include the needed paraphernalia to ingest, that ought to be enough if the person is indeed already a user.
      When I see directions for something (for anything), I feel that they are meant for people who are unfamiliar with the process, and certainly not for people who are already familiar with the process.
      And so… are these ‘Crack Kits’ just being given to those who already smoke crack? Or are they simply being handed out to anyone who asks for one, much like syringes are handed out by the handful free to anyone who wants them in many ‘needle exchange’ places?

      The ‘Crack Kits’ are ridiculous enough in and of themselves. Adding step-by-step instructions is overkill.

  19. Jen says:

    Steve

    I must say things sure have changed from my crack using days.

    I’ve been clean now for 8 yrs.

    I started my habit in Calgary,Alberta

    where the Calgary Police Service (CPS) hunt addicts down and if you were caught with a crack pipe,you were arrested and put in provincial prison for 3 months starting.

    The Calgary police had no mercy for addicts and sent that message out very strongly by always paroling the areas where addicts would be caught using and arresting them in full force.

    And maybe that’s why you don’t see people sprawled all over the streets shooting needles in their arms in Calgary.

    Not to insult how the VPD handle their addiction issues in Vancouver,it just amazes me.

    • JustSayin says:

      Congratulations on your sobriety Jen!

      I would warmly welcome the implementation of a similar addiction management plan here in BC :)

  20. kayfabethemark says:

    I love how the warning sign on the Crack Kit is smaller than the warning on a pack of cigarettes. ITS CRACK!

  21. Grieving says:

    On April 1st, 2012 my brother died in the DTES. He was drug addicted and everything the government did helped him to stay that way. Most addiction services are provided in this area of town. Methadone is available in pharmacies in most areas of the Province but hospitals aren’t. Doctors offices are very picky about which patients they take. Drug addicts aren’t at the top of the list so addicts need emergency doctors in big city hospitals to get methadone prescriptions. The government is concentrating a large group of marginalized population in one area making it easy for drug dealers to find their customers. On Hastings near Main street for about 5 blocks in either direction the street is occupied by drug addicts so much that 30 km/h signs are painted onthe road so if an addict is hit jaywalking their chances of survival are better. Something needs to change. This just isn’t working. More people are dying than getting healthy.

    • Steve says:

      I’m sorry to hear about your brother’s passing. Your comments are very true.

    • JustSayin says:

      Deepest heartfelt sympathies for the loss of your brother…

    • Shawn says:

      I’m sorry for your loss Grieving but there is a reason why all the services are in the DTES. Are you willing to have a detox center next door to you? Would you like the junkies to move to your area? the majority of people don’t want the junkies anywhere near them so they are forced to keep the centers in the DTES.

      As to the people suggesting locking them up for treatment, i’m sorry but that will never work a junkie will only get clean when they want to get clean and forcing anyone to do anything just doesn’t work.
      But lets just lock them up because that worked so well in the states

      Allot of you people need to spend some time in the DTES and get to know the people and what it is like before you start condeming them for handing out kits that help people

  22. Interesting says:

    Officer Steve, you may want to share the following on your blog:

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/47203505/ns/travel-news/

    AMSTERDAM – A controversial law that will make it harder for foreign tourists to buy cannabis at the Netherlands’ famous coffee shops has been upheld by a Dutch court.

    The law, which reverses 40 years of liberal drugs policy in the Netherlands, is targeted at the many foreigners who have come to see the country as a soft drugs paradise and to tackle a rise in crime related to the drug trade….

    The government in October launched a plan to ban what it considered to be highly potent forms of cannabis – known as “skunk” – placing them in the same category as heroin and cocaine.

  23. Raingurl says:

    I’ve seen one of these kits. What a joke

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