Should the Government Fund Safe Injection Sites in Canada?

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Should the Canadian government fund safe injection sites for drug addicts? 1. Introduction Substance abuse is probably one of the worst ways to degrade and disrespect your body, furthermore, people get addicted to sleeping pills, painkillers, tobacco and what about those of us caffeine-crazed individuals who will sit in a Tim Horton’s drive through for 20 minutes just to get our fix. How are these substances different from heroine, cocaine, LSD or Chrystal meth? The government has decided that addiction to these types of harmless drugs is okay, and then provides us with safe ways to access and ingest them. Could it be that the moment you turn to an illegal drug, you forfeit any chance of safety that the government could offer to you? Illegal drug use surrounds us every day, in fact, substance abuse is not a problem that will go away by banishing users to the streets; such attitudes only exacerbate this ever so common, serious issue. Critics argue that safe injection sites condone a criminal act, whereas, others argue that it’s better to focus on enabling addicts to practice the behavior more safely. While we must appreciate the moral perspectives some attempt to embody, good public policy must be measured by its effectiveness and ability to actually achieve the goals it is designed to respond to. For the purpose of this paper I will present information from Vancouver’s safe injection site, created in 2003 in hopes of cleaning up the Downtown Eastside. Presenting the facts on harm reduction and costs associated with drug addicts, I hope to help determine if the Government should fund safe injection sites by demonstrating its cost effectiveness on society as a whole. 2. Harm Reduction, A Pure Drug Control Approach One of the four pillars of Canada’s Drug Strategy is harm reduction. This approach grew in the 1980’s in hopes to reduce the risks of

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