Addiction-Doing What is Best for the Addict: Part Two

safe injection sitesAddiction-Doing What is Best for the Addict: Part Two
We are going to take a look at the hot topic of Safe Injection Sites. We are going to look at the pros and cons.  I am going to do my best to bring a very balanced approach. which it is clear that most appear to be incapable of doing regarding this subject matter. Normally what takes place is insinuating and name calling of those on opposite sides of the issue. Statements like “You are not being compassionate”, “You are promoting drug use”. “You hate addicts”. “You encourage and support criminal activity”, etc. I choose to not get into the motives or the heart of individuals. I choose to believe that people on both sides of the issue have a good heart overall. I do believe there are those on both sides of the issue that are misdirected because of their strong opinions. They fail to look at the issue in a logical, reasonable manner. Hopefully I do that in this post. This is  long post. Go to the bottom of the page if you just want to read a summary.The first thing I would like to say is that I find it very disturbing that when it comes to Addiction Prevention, Addiction Treatment, Dealing with Addiction Problems, very little effort is taken to get feedback from ex-addicts, those who are truly free from addiction. Many decisions are made by government agencies and other organizations regarding addiction problems and solutions that have had little input from those who have successful stories of being addiction free. Those who have experienced what has worked and what has not worked. Those who have lived the life of an addict but no longer live that life. Would not their stories and input be helpful in making decisions in regards to the addiction problem. Whenever issues like this one come up, most interviews of individuals is those who are in active use, who obviously are caught up in the midst of addiction, not getting feedback to those who no longer life the life. Makes you wonder. But that is another topic.

I also would like to say unless individuals have dealt on a personal level with drug addicts, in regards to family or friends being addicts; interacting, counseling, helping addicts; then they lack experience in regards to this topic. Being on the sidelines is different than being in the front lines.

Is the Ultimate Goal to Help People Get Addiction Free?
If anyone says or thinks the goal for Safe Injection Sites is for them to be a tool to be used to get people addiction free they are either naive, ignoring the facts, or being deceptive. Just look at the attached image. Just the image alone can be a trigger for those who are not currently doing drugs. Giving an IV user all the paraphernalia at no charge with no potential repercussions certainly does not reduce their desire for drugs.

There has been no solid statistics whatsoever that Safe Injection Sites lead people to becoming addiction free. Even Insite in Vancouver acknowledges they have accomplished little in regards to people becoming addiction free. Even with all the resources made available for individuals to get treatment, almost none get treatment. There are multitudes of other ways that are much more effective in helping individuals to get addiction free.  Safe Injection Sites do not have as their ultimate goal to help people get addiction free. Even if it was one of their main goals, they are totally ineffective in accomplishing that goal, bore out by the statistics.

What are the Pros of Safe Injection Sites?:

  • Decreased spread of HIV and Hepatitis C
  • Fewer drug overdose deaths and hospitalizations
  • Reduction of some crime
  • Reduction of drug paraphernalia in the immediate area of the Safe Injection Sites
  • Individuals may lower their IV dosages
  • No strong evidence that a Safe Injection Site encourages non drug-users to become drug users
  • Potential of users seeking help to become addiction free (yes potential but statistics show almost none try to get help)

All of the above are positives regarding Safe Injection Sites. Reducing the spread of HIV and Hepatitis C is a great goal. Less needles in public areas is a great benefit also. Any opportunity for someone to have the potential to become addiction free is something positive. So who would be against these positives? Are those who are against these positives uncaring individuals? I would say some may be, but most who are opposed to Safe Injection Sites are looking at the negatives.

What are the Cons of Safe Injection Sites?:

  • Fewer drug overdose deaths and hospitalizations can certainly be seen as a good thing, but making it so there are no consequences to drug use can become enabling and not helpful regarding people becoming addiction free
  • Reduction in crime can be a challenge to measure because the model Insite in Vancouver has had at times 90 additional police officers added to the patrol force around its location. Yes, certain property crimes most likely have reduced, but illicit drug sells have certainly increased. (Some say that Safe Injection Sites bring more crime overall, but no solid statistics on this.)
  • The reduction of drug paraphernalia is partially true. Yes around a Safe Injection Site, but only around the Safe Injection Site. Addicts do not walk miles to go to Safe Injection Sites. They use where they hang out.  Looking to the drug paraphernalia problem being solved by Safe Injections Sites is unrealistic.
  • Almost for sure there is an increase in individuals that were doing opiate non-IV use now doing IV use. (The fear of disease, more potential of being caught stops some individuals from doing IV use. That hindrance goes away. Also, IV use is more affordable and with less harmful results and more access to drugs around Safe Injection Sites, encourages more IV use.)
  • There is absolutely an increase of drug addicts around Safe Injection Sites compared to other areas. Does that mean they draw more addicts? No. What it does mean is that those who do use them, do their injections and then hang out at the Safe Injection Site, especially opiate addicts because of the nature of the drug. Insite in Vancouver is proof of this being true.
  • They overall are totally ineffective in getting people free from addiction-There has been a 50% increase of overdose deaths in Vancouver. (It needs to be acknowledged that overdoses are on the increase everywhere.) Any statistics showing that Safe Injection Sites actually help individuals to become addiction free is negligible.

If a community wants to see a reduction in HIV and Hep C infections among drug addicts then Safe Injection Sites are something positive. If a community wants to see less potential of citizens being harmed by drug paraphernalia in areas around a Safe Injection Site then Safe Injection Sites are something positive. If a community wants to see less deaths and hospitalizations from drug overdoes then Safe Injection Sites can be a positive thing.

If a community wants to see individuals become addiction free, then Safe Injection Sites are not a solution and can be counter-intuitive to people getting set free from addiction. It needs to be acknowledged that some drug users will become IV users because of Safe Injection Sites. Based upon some statistics, one of the reasons for less crime is because there is more of a police presence. So most likely there needs to be the addition of more police around a Safe Injection Site.

There is a list of articles (Pro and Con) regarding Safe Injection Sites on this site, click here.

My Position
I am totally against Safe Injection Sites for some specific reasons:

  • I believe in regards to addiction, our number one goal should always be to get people to a place of being addiction free.
  • I believe we should make our main goal addiction prevention and reduction-not enabling drug use.
  • I believe government money should not ever be spent supporting behavior that harms society or a person, or supports behavior that is illegal. I would be less against Safe Injection Sites if they were privately funded-but still against them overall.
  • I am absolutely convinced that many non IV users will become IV users.
  • I am absolutely convinced when drug use is made easier it only enables the addict. It does more harm than good in addiction reduction.
  • Almost all of the ex-addicts I have had interaction with in multitudes of years are against such sites. They say they would have never become addiction free if there was such a site where they did drugs.
  • I believe there are some strong Pros to Safe Injection Sites but I believe Safe Needle Exchanges already accomplish some of those Pros.

Bottom Line: If all the money that was spent on Safe Injection Sites was spent on Addiction Prevention and Treatment much of our addiction problems in society would be solved. That is if there is a whole-person approach to treatment. That is if the mental health side of things were addressed. There are many people who would do treatment if it was easily accessible and affordable. In the last five years I have had a much harder time to get people into detox and treatment. Significantly harder. Plus too many times the mental health issues in our society are not being dealt with correctly.

Addicts are more importantly to me personally than the appearances of doing something noble that does not help people get set free from addiction. Addict Lives Matter-matter enough to get them free, not enable them to continue in their addiction, feed their addiction, and make no consequences from their addiction. Yes, without Safe Injection Sites some will die. But if there was treatment for them, instead of enabling them, more would live than die. Safe Injection Sites are not effective in getting them into treatment. I will be writing an article in regards to what is effective in getting them into treatment and addiction free.

Edit: I made this statement in this article:
“if all the money spent on Safe injection Sites (SIS) were spent on treatment our addiction problems would be solved,”
is not an accurate statement by me. Addiction problems will never be solved as long as there are human beings on earth. I should have stated “if all the money spent on Safe injection Sites (SIS) were spent on treatment there would much less addiction problems.Treatment is much more effective than Safe Injection Sites.”

Three Ways of Dealing with Addiction

If you disagree, have a different perspective, have questions, etc. feel free to post comments or post your own article. Just be respectful. Click Here, to learn all about using the blog on this site. Your feedback is welcomed.

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    […] places.. In this post I will not address the issue of Safe Injection Sites. (I addressed that in another article. I will be writing more articles on that topic and encouraging our community to have a town meeting […]

    5 years ago

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