Give Addicts Drugs
Let’s give drugs to drug addicts. This idea is one that has become more prevalent in today’s age. As drugs become increasingly more common we are faced with the issues that everyday drug addicts bring: Stealing and pawning items, violence, trash on our streets, and begging. These acts happen the majority of the time when an addict is looking for their next fix and will do anything to get it, so what if we just gave it to them.
The drug overdose epidemic is one that is sweeping over our country and many others. Over the past few years overdose rates in some cases have tripled. Many countries have resorted to punishment and forced rehab to try and clean up their streets and reduce crime and death rates, but the outcomes don’t seem to be working. We need to try something new. Canada has taken a different approach, Through a thoroughly selected program 26 people have been receiving drugs from the government as a way to help them. This program (called Insite) lets addicts go to special medical popups that will provide them with clean and sterilized needles as well as, to some, the heroin dose they crave. This program has decreased the overdoses in the Vancouver area as well as crime rates.
In Vancoover canada they have already started implementing these programs to make getting drugs more safe and accessible for addicts. Vancoover is a port which makes it a place where addicts know drugs are coming in and out. This became a big problem in Vancouver and they named this place the “downtown eastside”. In hopes to cut back on the people dead with needles in their arms they opened up “insites’ ‘. Insights are, “where addicts could shoot up under the supervision of a nurse and without the fear of being arrested by police. Staff at the Insite center provide the addicts with clean syringes, antiseptic wipes and other instruments.”(taken from “Vancouver Combats Heroin” by Bradly Campbell) Having these safe zones created “healthier” and cleaner drug usage.
At this center a program was started based off of ones seen in European countries. Giving the drug addicts that “had no chance of recovery” heroin as needed that way they wouldnt result to doing things to get drugs. This program was only offered to around 26 people who had tried multiple heroin treatments as well as recovery multiple times and could not kick the habit. One of these addicts in the article “Vancouver combats heroin by giving its addicts the best smack in the world” speaks about how he is able to hold a job now because he no longer needs to search for where his next high is going to come from.
Along with this program there is this idea of aging out of drugs. We mostly think that the more years a drug addict does drugs the harder it is to kick the drug, when in fact evidence shows the opposite. According to “Matters of Substance” by Maia Szalavitz, “if addiction were truly a progressive disease, the data should show that the odds of quitting get worse over time. In fact, they remain the same on an annual basis, which means that, as people get older, a higher and higher percentage wind up in recovery.” With this idea that as you get older more and more addicts recover this article also states that, ”Heroin addictions tend to last as long as alcoholism” (which is around 15 years). Most but not all addicts in fact quit on their own without any facility or outside help.
If addicts are likely to quit a drug on their own after a certain amount of years, why don’t we put them in these insite facilities and give them their drugs and keep them out of danger and criminal activity until they eventually get bored and quit the drug on their own. Why instead do we pressure addicts into multi step programs and rehab facilities when they are not ready or don’t want to quit the drug?
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Insight program is not meant to enable addicts but instead hopefully stop them from resorting to street drugs and street crimes just to get a high. “Street drugs” are drugs that are sold illegally on the streets. Street drugs often are laced with other synthetic opioids or chemicals such as fentanyl.“When you use street or club drugs, you’re taking a lot of risks. The drugs are dangerous, and usually there’s no way to know how strong they are or what else may be in them”, As WebMD states in, “Street Drugs: Know the Facts and Risks”. In that article as well they speak about how “It’s even more unsafe to use them along with other substances like alcohol and marijuana.” A lot of addicts resort to “getting crossed” which is the use of 2 drugs at once in order to gain the satisfaction that they first got when starting their drug of choice. This increases the risks of overdose as well as many other health issues.
The safety of the drugs that addicts are using is also a questionable topic. Drugs today are often laced with chemicals and other unhealthy substances. Addicts are now shooting these laced drugs into themselves 2-3 times a day. Most overdoses are not caused by the drug itself but by the chemicals added to it. In figure 5 of the article,” Drug Overdose Death Rates” by the National Institute of Drug Abuse, you can see that heroin overdose rates have increased dramatically when including opioids such as fentanyl. If the safety of the addict is what matters most we should be offering them an alternative to their street drugs and giving them clean and pure drugs that can be administered through sterilized needles and with a medical professional present.
If the safety of our people is our biggest concern then that includes addicts. Although we do not want to promote drugs it’s important we offer as many sources for help as we possibly can. By giving addicts their drugs they were keeping them calm and in a state where they don’t feel the need to harm or steal. By giving them the opportunity to use sterilized equipment and clean drugs we are helping ensure they are receiving these drugs in the best way possible for their health, and by not forcing programs and rehab upon these addicts we are giving them the opportunity to want it themselves and work for it when they are ready too.
Addicts when coming down from a high or are going through withdrawal they crave the need for more. In the article “Drug use changes the brain over time” by the Genetic Science Learning Center, “ after the user has “come down,” they will need more of the drug next time they want to get high.” Addicts will result in stealing from family or pickpocketing on the street, they also will buy drugs that are less pure just because it’s cheaper and what they can afford. This is the behavior that Vancouver is trying to prevent, and succeeding in doing and the rest of us should follow in their footsteps.
From a Neurological standpoint of the brain when doing a drug your brain is getting an immediate release of high dopamine. Over time your dopamine receptors in your synapse begin to accommodate for the drug and start altering around it to compensate for the amount of dopamine it creates leaving you with even less dopamine when you’re not high then your originally started with. The Pathways connected to the synapse also get rewired during this period. According to, “Drug Use Changes The Brain Over Time” by the Genetic Science Learning center, “Over time, brain regions responsible for judgment, decision-making, learning, and memory begin to physically change, making certain behaviors “hard-wired.”.” These addicts can no longer make clear judgments and justify their crimes. These addicts aren’t hard criminals, they just don’t know the basis of reality anymore. By sustaining these addicts with their choice drug we can help redirect their focus from finding their next fix to perhaps finding a job.
Rehab is often the most pushed upon treatment for addicts. Forced rehab along with voluntary do not have the best rates when it comes to staying sober. In a study conducted called, ”Factors associated with relapse into drug use among male and female attendees of a three-month drug detoxification–rehabilitation programme” by The Harm Reduction Journal, they found that the, “Median times to relapse were 45 days for men and 20 days for women. Most of the relapses occurred during the first 30 days after discharge in both sexes.” This study also found that 71.9% of women relapsed versus 54.5% males. More than half of both men and women found that this program was unhelpful, yet it’s the first thing we offer to addicts.
When you force addicts into mandatory rehab their odds of relapse unfortunately suffer. According to “Is rehab inevitable with forced sobriety?” by Kerry Nenn she states,”They found that almost 50 percent of the mandated patients relapsed within a month of their release, while only 10 percent of voluntary graduates relapsed.” By forcing people who aren’t ready to get help to get help they don’t have the drive or the want to get clean so when given the opportunity they go back to the drug they were on. This causes a waste of resources and time for the facility and the addict. An example of this I find helpful to understand this would be if a man ate a cookie everyday for a few years and suddenly you took that cookie out of stores only for that cookie to return a few months later, that man will buy those cookies that he missed, but if you let that man eat that cookie for a few more years suddenly the man will get sick of that cookie and stop buying it.
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.
Not only is rehab not effective for most but it becomes even less effective when we take addicts off the streets, get them clean, and then stick them right back on the street. Addicts who are admitted to rehabs from loving families or homes have a much higher success rate. Addicts who live on the street more often than not are on drugs because of their living conditions. From the same study done by The Harm Reduction Journal they found, ”For both male and female subjects the findings highlight the importance of stable living conditions. Additionally, female PWUDs need gender-sensitive services and active efforts to refer them for opioid substitution therapy.” Drugs are the only way that addicts know how to cope and once they are put back out on the street they are going to need to cope again and we have the opportunity to help them cope.
Helping addicts does not have to be a one solution problem, some addicts can benefit from rehab and that may be the best choice for them but others need the drugs, they are completely dependent, and it makes their lifestyle more bearable. Unless we can get every homeless addict off the street and into a home then we should be using our medical resources to give them pure safe and medically administered drugs.
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.
Bradly Campbell, Vancouver combats heroin by giving its addicts the best smack in the world(2015)https://theworld.org/stories/2015-02-04/vancouver-combats-heroin-giving-its-addicts-best-smack-world
Maia Szalavitz, Matters of Substance(2014) https://www.drugfoundation.org.nz/matters-of-substance/archive/matters-of-substance-november-2014/ageing-out-of-addiction/
Kerry Nenn, Is Relapse Inevitable With Forced Sobriety?(2023) https://recovery.org/is-relapse-inevitable-with-forced-sobriety/
National Institute of Drug Abuse, Drug Overdose Death Rates(2023)
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
Maehira, Y., Chowdhury, E.I., Reza, M. et al. Factors associated with relapse into drug use among male and female attendees of a three-month drug detoxification–rehabilitation programme in Dhaka, Bangladesh: a prospective cohort study. Harm Reduct J 10, 14 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1186/1477-7517-10-14
Genetic Science Learning Center. (2013, August 30) Drug Use Changes the Brain Over Time. Retrieved April 02, 2023, from https://learn.genetics.utah.edu/content/addiction/brainchange
Science Direct (Volume 16, Issue 4, April 2016, Pages 1323-1327) R.A. Rudd, N. Aleshire, J.E. Zibbell, R. Matthew Gladden https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1600613522008991
Street Drugs: Know the Facts and Risks, WebMD Editorial Contributors (March 13 2023)https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/addiction/street-drugs-risks
There’s a lot of false-starting and repetition at the beginning of your essay, PM, but it settles down in the middle and the decision to place your rebuttal arguments at the end of the piece is a good one. By then we have the clear notion of what you’ll do with the final 1000 words: refute the supposed effectiveness of rehab as a BETTER ALTERNATIVE than InSite. You do a good job of minimizing its reliability and plausibility as a quick solution.
What you should really improve if you want a quick fix is the poor quality of your first sentences. They almost never indicate what attitude you’ll take toward the material of each paragraph.
Some examples of vague opening sentences:
—At this center a program was started based off of ones seen in European countries.
No idea where you’re going with that.
—Along with this program there is this idea of aging out of drugs.
No idea where you’re going with that. Is “aging out” a way of managing addiction? Do you recommend it? Is it an alternative solution for InSite?
—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.”
No idea whether you agree or not. It’s easy to say.
—Some specialists also believe that this is just a way of killing our addicts in a kind way.
No idea whether you agree or not. It’s easy to say. Want an example?
—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.”
Three times you’ve devoted paragraphs to the blackmail/enable/kill-with-kindness theme and we still don’t know whether you endorse it when you start a new paragraph.
—Often people try to help addicts with what they think is right for them, but not taking into consideration what is actually helpful.
No idea where you’re going with that.
—Enabling addicts is a big discussion as well.
To say something “is a big discussion” is completely meaningless.
—The Insight program is not meant to enable addicts but instead hopefully stop them from resorting to street drugs and street crimes just to get a high.
VERY NICE. I follow that one completely.
—The safety of the drugs that addicts are using is also a questionable topic.
To say something “a questionable topic” is completely meaningless.
—If the safety of our people is our biggest concern then that includes addicts.
True, but your opponents think you’re killing them.
—From a Neurological standpoint of the brain when doing a drug your brain is getting an immediate release of high dopamine.
No idea where you’re going with that.
I’m sorry if that feels like overkill. I won’t get another chance to draw your attention to how meekly you enter each new chance to nail down an argument. Every paragraph is a tiny essay with its own thesis. Treat it as such.