Thursday, August 4, 2011

Screw Diabetics

Apparently, Vancouver's public health authority believes catering to crack addicts is more important than catering to diabetics.  A new program in Vancouver will provide crack addicts with free crack pipes.  Vancouver is also the location of a controversial program that provides free needles to heroin addicts.  From CTV:
It's part of the city's harm-reduction strategy that seeks to reduce the transmission of disease while ensuring health-care and social workers are able to interact with hard-to-reach drug addicts. Currently, the city distributes clean mouth pieces for crack pipes, but not the pipes themselves.
"We want to do it in a way that we can evaluate this, because there's a couple of questions I hope we can answer by doing this," says Dr. Patricia Daly, the medical health officer for Vancouver Coastal Health.
"And not just about demand and numbers, but can we use this as an engagement strategy like we do with our other harm-reduction initiatives. If you can deliver them (harm-reduction programs) in a way where you can get people into other services, that's very beneficial."
Unlike needle-exchange programs for injection drugs, programs to ensure users who smoke crack are using the drug safely are uneven across the country and, in some cases, non-existent. That's despite a growing body of evidence that smoking crack cocaine increases the risk of diseases such as HIV and hepatitis.
In a small handful of cities, including Calgary and Winnipeg, local health authorities pass out crack pipes. Others prefer to only hand out mouth pieces, which users can place on their own pipes to avoid exposing themselves to others' saliva and blood.
And in others still, the job of distributing either mouth pieces or pipes is left to local community groups.
That uneven approach is needlessly putting crack users at risk, say experts and advocacy groups, who argue crack-pipe distribution should be a standard tool in every provincial and municipal drug strategy.
The widespread use of narcotics such as heroin and cocaine leads me to believe either education on the dangers of narcotics use is insufficient or a lot of people are just plain stupid.  Having said that, I am not completely opposed to this program.  Given the way Canada's healthcare system is structured, this makes sense if it reduces the rates of diseases such as HIV and hepatitis, which would therefore reduce the costs associated with treating those diseases.  I am strongly opposed to the program ideologically, but it seems to be the pragmatic thing to do (that is, as long as it saves money).  I think, if money is going to be spent at all, it should be spent on educating children on the dangers of drug abuse (which it already is).

If I were to allow my ideology to dictate my approach to this problem, the solution I would propose would be to allow the crackheads to pay for the consequences of their stupidity on their own.  What responsibility to taxpayers have to pay for other people's mistakes?

Simply put, I am outraged at the prospect of paying for someone else’s terrible choice.  This is one reason I am opposed to universal healthcare; people who make terrible decisions and do not properly care for their health are drains on the system.  That goes for drug addicts, alcoholics, smokers, overweight people, and people who practice unsafe sex, among others.  In an ideal private healthcare system, these people would have to pay for their own mistakes with higher insurance costs, thus proving them with a disincentive to continue their unhealthy lifestyle.  As for the specifics on what to do with crack addicts (and other narcotics users), I will get into that in a subsequent post.  For now, suffice it to say I have an idea that more so conforms to my ideology and, frankly, I don't give an [expletive] about people who are stupid enough to use drugs in the first place, particularly those who are stupid enough to risk contracting HIV by sharing needles or crack pipes, as long as taxpayers do not have to pay for their treatment.  

Furthermore, this program seems to treat crack addicts preferentially over diabetics, who must use their own money to pay for their equipment.  Diabetics' equipment may be more expensive, but, as a matter of principle, it doesn't make any sense to provide drug addicts with equipment they use to use drugs and not provide diabetics, whose condition is often genetic, with equipment they use to live.  


  1. Okay, off topic, but I like the snake in the corner. I wouldn’t step on it, for sure. (:

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.


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