I am a fan of INSITE because it has been peer-reviewed and the facts are in: it does what it tries to do, which is reduce overdoses and the spread of diseases.
But this: The Harm Reduction Taboo, makes me think about why we have these things at all.
The obvious problem with harm reduction sites like INSITE is that the users still have to get drugs from the street. This causes crime. A much safer, cost-effective, crime-reducing, and sensible way to deal with the issue of addiction is to simply give the addicts small doses of the drugs they are addicted to.
Yes – I am saying we should open clinics and let nurses give out free pharmaceutical-grade coke and heroin and meth, just like they do at methadone clinics. It is called a “maintenance program”, and history shows that if an addict has a path to sobriety that is paved with something other than abstinence, they actually have a better chance of getting sober.
Gradually working towards sobriety has shown to be far more successful than the “cold turkey” method espoused by radio talk show hosts and the like. As someone who has kicked pharmaceuticals and booze and video games and junk food, I can attest: recovery takes time.
For those drug users who, for whatever reasons, can’t get completely clean, they usually manage to improve their lives and health to varying degrees. Some have jobs and homes, much like the “functional alcoholics” who are never “hammered” but can’t go a single day without booze.
This maintenance method would reduce overdose deaths, crime, cost, infections, and the spread of wildly expensive diseases like Hep C and HIV. No illegal drugs would be used – just medications made by professional labs. No paraphernalia in the parks and alleys, no sharing gear, no contamination from imported “street” drugs. Fewer beggars and prostitutes, fewer people convulsing and losing their bladders on the sidewalks, and – best of all – no customers for the dealers!
Suddenly, these people are no longer “druggies”, buying “dope” from “pushers”, they become “out-patients” getting “medication” from nurses. Not all that much different than many of our elderly who require outrageously expensive treatments – often for decades – simply to keep them alive, or the obesity and diabetes and heart disease we are all paying for because of legal – and far more dangerous – drugs like alcohol, tobacco, and caffeine.