The one-year study will allow some 450 addicts 25 and older to inject heroin up to three times a day. Then, they will have three months in which they are weaned off heroin, Sayers said.
I think this is a great idea. There have been similiar sucessful programs in the UK, Switzerland and the Netherlands. In Vancouver, this trial means that 160 people who otherwise might (heck, probably would) be engaged in criminal or other anti-social behaviour in order to obtain drugs won’t have to. Removing that aspect of their lives can only have a positive impact. They go from being disdained, desperate junkies to merely impoverished people with a treatable addiction.
Call me heartless, but I care more about the impact on our society than on these individuals. Heroin addicts who obtain their drugs illegally cause a burden on our policing and healthcare resources. For 160 people, this program eliminates half of this burden. Sure, I’d like these people to kick their habit, and this program will go a long way to helping them do that. But for now, safer streets are a good place to start.
UPDATE: While replying to a comment, I remembered what I forgot to mention earlier. I wonder if a lot of free heroin will have the same impact on the illegal drug trade as the RIAA claims file-sharing has had on the record industry. Profits will go down, drug runners will be released from their contracts–the drug dealing industry could see a serious contraction. Nice one.