Addicts are being helped
Controversial topics and opinions always come with skeptics. Giving Heroin addicts drugs is no different. These skeptics and their rebuttal are grounded in their beliefs. They believe that the effectiveness of rehab is high enough to help all addicts, that giving addicts drugs is only enabling them, and the we are blackmailing them into “peacefully dying”
Rehabs promote themselves as the best possible option for addicts when in reality they aren’t. Rehabs say that it is a unique journey for all addicts and that every addict is on their own path, but yet they expect the same program they offer to work on every addict. Unfortunately as much as I would love for that to work it does not. According to “Rehab Rates and Statistics” by Wendy Manwarren, “a survey conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration found that as many as 90 percent of people who need drug rehab do not receive it.” How are we supposed to trust our rehabs to help our addicts when they are only helping 10%. Even if we counted that 10%, a percentage of those addicts relapse and dropout as well as go back several times to try different treatment options. Rehab centers believe that relapse isnt failure and that they just need to start rehab again, but after a certain amount of relapses something needs to be done.
Rehab is not just a few months, it is the rest of an addict’s life if they want decent odds of staying in recovery. Also taken from “Rehab Rates and Statistics”, “There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to treatment, but it’s most successful when individuals complete the entire course of their treatment and continue with the aftercare programs.” It does not end with rehab; they have to continue in programs for years if not the rest of their lives to actually stay clean, but they don’t tell you that.
Some specialists also believe that this is just a way of killing our addicts in a kind way. Taken from “Vancouver Combats Heroin by Giving its Addicts the Best Smack in the World”, they say, “ put it in stark terms, saying the city is killing addicts with kindness. “We might as well put a bullet in their head,” O’Rourke told him. “We’re killing them. We are just doing it in a much nicer way.” This argument can be completely shut down because of the fact that if we are administering the drugs we decide how much they get. Not only do we make sure they are getting a dose their body can handle but we would also be injecting them with sterilized tools and by a medical professional. What made this article even better is that they completely contradicted themselves later on by interviewing addicts who said, “ that he needs free heroin or else he’ll break into a car. Take your pick.” The addicts are all for this new program, they are blatantly saying that they are going to resort to crime.
Along with many other points made in the “Vancouver Combats Heroin by Giving its Addicts the Best Smack in the World”, they also mention, “It could lead some to believe the city is giving into an unspoken form of blackmail.” Blackmail is a completely wrong term to describe this program. Blackmail is something used to force unwilling people to do something they don’t want to do. These addicts have expressed their gratitude for this program and how it has helped them sustain themselves. One addict mentions in the article, “a long-term drug addict named Kevin Thompson, says he is able to hold down a job thanks to the program”. That doesn’t seem to fit the definition of blackmail at all. In Fact these addicts are continuously bettering themselves because of the program and are able to finally start cleaning themselves up because they aren’t so worried about where their next fix is going to come from. It’s not blackmail if the city and the addict win.
Enabling addicts is a big discussion as well. What a lot of people don’t know though is that most addicts that are being enabled are functioning addicts who have homes and jobs. Enabling often comes from loved ones who are covering for them at their job or lying to other family about their situation, not often does it happen to addicts on the street which is who this program would solely be for. “The Truth About Enabling” by Family First Intervention says, “When a person with a substance use disorder is enabled it lessens the likelihood they will see the need for change.” But addicts on the street are using drugs because they need change. These street addicts want to get out of their situation, so they use drugs to do that. But while constantly worrying about affording and getting the drugs, they lose sight of the change they are craving. By creating security with the drug they will have more time to pick up their pieces and create some change for themself.
Often people try to help addicts with what they think is right for them, but not taking into consideration what is actually helpful. “The Truth About Enabling”, states, “trying to help often leads to more harm than good.” When loved ones try to force rehab, multi step programs, or even by cutting off the resources they have, more often than not just leads the addict down an even worse path because now you have turned on them. Why force addicts to live lives they don’t desire at all, let’s just make the life they live comfortable.
Giving addicts drugs is the best option we have in front of us. Obviously the options we are giving them now are not helping them at all and something new needs to be tried. The benefits this program offers will lower crime, provide safe drugs and safe tools, while also making the lives of our homeless addicts more bearable. This program isn’t creating addicts, it’s saving them.
The truth about enabling(April 10, 2019) Family First Intervention
Vancouver combats heroin by giving its addicts the best smack in the world (February 4, 2015)Bradley Campbell
Drug Success Rates and Statistics(October 1,2022) Wendy Manwarren