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Monday, August 28, 2006

Does this mean the left will love her now?

Margaret Somerville, the McGill ethicist who was booed at Ryerson over her professional opinion regarding gay marriage/child rearing, has pronounced that the closure of safe injection sites would be unethical.

"In my view it would not be acceptable simply to say 'we don't agree with drug abuse,' " Somerville said Monday.

"It can't be simply, 'We have a political platform and our platform is nobody is going to be helped in any way in terms of drug addiction behaviour or illness.' That would be wrong in my view."

The site, called Insite, has an annual operating cost of $2 million that is paid for by the provincial government.

It will close Sept. 12 unless the Conservative government renews an exemption under Canada's drug laws that allows it to operate legally.

I neither agree nor disagree with the concept of a safe injection site. I have no shame in admitting to being a NIMBY where such things are concerned, but I also believe that if junkies want to off themselves, they should be given every opportunity to do so, with as little risk to you and I as possible.

My interest in blogging this story is my curiosity about the way the left will react. Will they suddenly decide they love Somerville because she is standing up for one of their pet causes? Or do druggies rank lower than homosexuals on the caring activist scale?

It will be interesting to see how this plays out over the next two weeks.

Posted by RightGirl on August 28, 2006 in Canadian Politics | Permalink

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Um, you don't need a still to enjoy natural ethanol, Snowrunner. Home made beer and wine are actually legal. In the summar of '72 I made a couple 35 gallon plastic-lined steel drums of a lovely dark lager.

Anyway, the broader problem is that we've become too compasionate. We've got to re-learn how to let losers just die. It's natural selection. Instead, we throw no end of wasteful ineffective efforts at trying to pretend not just that everyone has a right to life, but that they have a right to be supported by others, except when they are prohibited by others.

Boris Yeltsin, addressing RSFSR Congress of People's Deputies in 1991, said: "Everything which was not permitted was forbidden. Whatever was permitted was mandatory. Citizens were shackled in their actions by the universal passion for banning things."

As Roder Q. Mills said, in 1887: "Prohibition was introduced as a fraud; it has been nursed as a fraud. It is wrapped in the livery of Heaven, but it comes to serve the devil. It comes to regulate by law our appetites and our daily lives. It comes to tear down liberty and build up fanaticism, hypocrisy, and intolerance. It comes to confiscate by legislative decree the property of many of our fellow citizens. It comes to send spies, detectives, and informers into our homes; to have us arrested and carried before courts and condemned to fines and imprisonments. It comes to dissipate the sunlight of happiness, peace, and prosperity in which we are now living and to fill our land with alienations, estrangements, and bitterness. It comes to bring us evil-- only evil-- and that continually. Let us rise in our might as one and overwhelm it with such indignation that we shall never hear of it again as long as grass grows and water runs."

Posted by: Vitruvius | 2006-08-29 1:13:28 PM


@Vitruvius,

I am aware of that, my point was that we do not "drink" natural occuring alcohol but upgrade it to something we desire, as EBD was claiming that alochol is okay because it is "naturally occuring" while other drugs are not.

Posted by: Snowrunner | 2006-08-29 1:16:47 PM


Here in Alberta you can make up to 300 gallons of wine and 300 gallons of beer annually in your own home.

Posted by: Speller | 2006-08-29 1:23:10 PM


It's not my place to speak for EBD, Snowrunner, but I think his point was more along the lines of the difference between conventional intoxicants, which have been used for hundreds and even thousands of years, and which have relatively well-known profiles, and modern high-tech pharmacological compounds which can have rather unexpected downsides even in the very short term.

Anyway, the key to all this is dosage. If people were properly selfish, they wouldn't take too much of these things, because at some point it becomes a net loss. Unfortunately, too many people are greedy, not selfish, and so they take too much.

Consider tobacco, for example. Nobody has ever been killed by smoking tobacco, all that happens is that if you smoke enough of it then there is a statistical likelyhood that you will have a slightly shorter life. The more you smoke, the more shorter it will be, but if you like it, the better your life will be.

This applies to most drugs. For example, a few 10s of micrograms of chemically pure LSD is, for those not adverse to its effects, not a bad thing if done only occasionally. On the other hand, a few milligrams, once, and your sanity will never recover.

As Speller said, it is possible for a human to drink enough high-proof alcohol to kill oneself in a single sitting. But it's not possible to drink enough low-alcohol beer to do that ;-)

Posted by: Vitruvius | 2006-08-29 1:31:39 PM


Karol,

that is an interesting logic leap from a safe injectin site into the promotion of pharmaceutical drugs. I do believe we're too quick in taking pills if things ail us, but I still don't see the connection.

One thing (the sites) are there as much to protect the public as the user, while the other issues is one of legislation.

@Vitruvius,

Yes, modern drugs are unknown in their effect, but a lot of it also has to do with the fact that they are illegal, so nobody ever does a study on the long term effects.

Drugs like Cocoaine and MJ have bee naround for centuries and their cause and effect are well known.

I believe in Education, not in forbidding, same goes btw, with sex ed, the idea that "just say no" works I think has been proven by now to be utterly unworkable on a large scale.

Posted by: Snowrunner | 2006-08-29 2:27:26 PM


She is not part of the in crowd, and by upholding traditional mariage commited the unforgivable leftist sin.

As for the taxpayer funded shoot-up sites, Vancouver's municiple govt. wants to keep and expand them while outlawing smoking in any outside area. Long live freedom.

Posted by: Alain | 2006-08-29 4:05:34 PM


@Karol,

I do not disagree with you on that whole thing, but I do not believe that a safe injection site is going to have an impact one way or the other on big pharmas behaviour.

I just do not believe that we do anybody a service by closing down those sites if the benefits for users and community is just too big to ignore.

Add to this that right now a lot of people make money with the war on drugs:

- Drug Companies who repackage those same drugs under a brand name.
- Defense Contractors who can sell fancy equipment to law enforcement.
- Law enforcement because they can get more money and toys.
- Politicians because they can be "tough" on something (again) without understanding why it is the way it is.

And last but not least it gives people something to whine about.

Drug Abuse is always bad (doesn't matter if brand name or not), but society as a whole would benefit way more from an open and honest discussion about drug use, both for recreational and medicinal purposes, than from chosing to outlaw it and never to speak of it again.

Posted by: Snowrunner | 2006-08-29 4:38:08 PM


@Karol,

Do I feel some suppressed anger? Maybe you should talk with someone about it..... Really.

Concerned.

S.

Posted by: Snowrunner | 2006-08-29 5:04:28 PM


snowy:

In regards to AIDS, the ‘just say no' campaign has worked wonderfully in African countries with majority Christian and Muslim populations.

Infection rates there, according to WHO stats, are about 4%. In traditional tribal and other Marxist-inspired moralities, it reaches upward of 24%. Such is the tragic price of misguided ‘freedom' against the ravages of Mother Nature.

So, the evidence has proven to be opposite to your assertion as far as sexual practices are concerned. There is proven success in countries with a strong moral code with a populace that understands consequences of actions.

I'm unsure what the stats are for intravenous drug use, but I believe I read that even though the gay population represents 3% of North America's population, their contribution to AIDS statistics is somewhere around 48%.

I'd welcome any clarifications to the stats.

Actually, I was surprised the gay population of 3% was so high ... the fact their activism get disproportionate MSM attention must say something.

Posted by: Set you free | 2006-08-29 5:19:21 PM


Karolak ~ please watch this...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lzhj_t3oL7k

Posted by: Vitruvius | 2006-08-29 5:35:29 PM


I didn't say that you should talk to a Shrink, that was your own conclusion, and that speaks volumes.

I don't think you have the necessary distance to really make a judgement call based on different facts, but that's my personal opinion and you are free to disagree with me as you see fit.

@SYF,

I am not sure where you have your numbers from, but Wikipedia cites the following with regards to abstinence:

> The effective use of condoms and screening of
> blood transfusion in North America, Western and
> Central Europe is credited with contributing to
> the low rates of AIDS in these regions.
>
> Promoting condom use, however, has often proved
> controversial and difficult. Many religious
> groups, most noticably the Catholic Church, have
> opposed the use of condoms on religious grounds,
> and have sometimes seen condom promotion as an
> affront to the promotion of marriage, monogamy
> and sexual morality. This attitude is found
> among some health care providers and policy
> makers in sub-Saharan African nations, where HIV
> and AIDS prevalence is extremely high.[55] They
> also believe that the distribution and promotion
> of condoms is tantamount to promoting sex
> amongst the youth and sending the wrong message
> to uninfected individuals. However, no evidence
> has been produced that promotion of condom use
> increases sexual promiscuity.

The way I read this, abstinence does NOT prevent AIDS, because people don't seem to stay abstinent (what a shocker).

The source they cited was this document from Human Rights Watch:

http://hrw.org/reports/2005/uganda0305/7.htm#_Toc98378385

On a different note: So it seems you do support Islam when it comes to abstinence? Or how shall we understand:

> In regards to AIDS, the ‘just say no' campaign
> has worked wonderfully in African countries with
> majority Christian and Muslim populations.

Also, what other religion would be there? Buddhism etc. haven't really made it that far, they are rather new arrivals in the West as well.

Agnostics and Atheists aren't really all the numerous there either (with maybe the expecption of white South Africans).

Posted by: Snowrunner | 2006-08-29 6:16:30 PM


Karol,

I still don't see how this relates to safe injection sites and the legalization of recreational drugs, and this was what we were talking about.

Posted by: Snowrunner | 2006-08-29 6:55:07 PM


Sorry I wasn't more clear, Karolak. In the referenced video - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lzhj_t3oL7k - you are playing the role of the patient, and the readers of the Shotgun are playing the role of Mr. Newhart. It is in that sense that I have two words to say to you: STOP IT!

And, I'm off topic, so I'll leave it at that.

Posted by: Vitruvius | 2006-08-29 8:04:13 PM


I would argue that there are industrious people who indulge in various levels of mildly pleasent chemically induced excursions, and there are those who don't. Similarly, I would argue that there are parasitic people who do, and don't.

With those antecedents in place, I would argue, on the matter of the concept of so-called-safe injection sites, that Thomas Jefferson was correct when he said, "I think myself that we have more machinery of government than is necessary, too many parasites living on the labor of the industrious."

Posted by: Vitruvius | 2006-08-29 8:31:53 PM


Actually, I could give a rodent’s posterior over the actual legalization of street drugs. The drug “war” will never be won through lack of political will and besides, it’s a HUGE money maker for certain professions. What I take exception to is the hypocrisy of the politicians and authorities. A citizen walking down the street with a pocket full of heroin if caught would be arrested, charged and possibly incarcerated UNLESS he makes it to the safe haven where the same authorities turn a blind eye.

In reality,I think life is filled with choices and people that use free will and choose to inject poisons into their systems have the right to do so. They most certainly don’t enjoy the right to have these habits subsidized by the general poulation that display better decision making skills. JMHO

Posted by: Harry | 2006-08-29 8:51:03 PM


Karol,

let me call Bull here, if anything the distinction of "Good" (e.g. prescribed by doctors) and "bad" (e.g. MJ) just gives the people you hate more power.

Other than that, this discussion here has absolutly no relevance to the topic.

Posted by: Snowrunner | 2006-08-29 9:37:37 PM


Still, I think we should always remember the words of Robert Heinlein, who wrote: "Be wary of strong drink. It can make you shoot at tax collectors, and miss."

Posted by: Vitruvius | 2006-08-29 10:20:51 PM


karol:

Yet, snowy is convinced his drug ingestion is not a criminal activity.

Posted by: Set you free | 2006-08-30 12:04:34 AM


@SYF,

Neither is Speller and a few other people, but thanks for singeling me out again, don't want to oppose any of your buddies, eh?

And yes, the beer I am drinking right now is, to my knowledge, perfectly legal in Canada, but I am sure you will correct me in a moment, after all, Canada is an Islamic state by your account.

Posted by: Snowrunner | 2006-08-30 1:00:01 AM


Will the amount of drug use go up as the prices fall? If so, then the number of drivers under the influence of drugs would also go up. The fact that drunk drivers are able to get off by blaming the establishment for allowing them too much makes me worry about how our society would deal with drivers under the influence of drugs. People need to be held accountable for their actions before drugs are legalized.

And as interesting as this side topic is, I have not been able to find any references from the left about Margaret Somerville's recent support for drug injection sites.

John M Reynolds

Posted by: jmrSudbury | 2006-08-30 8:24:51 AM


Here you go John Reynolds.

"Despite the legalization of soft drugs, use of cannabis in the Netherlands is not higher than most other countries in Western Europe: 9.7% of young males consume cannabis at least once a month, which rates the Netherlands 7th in the EU after Cyprus (23.3%), Spain (16.4%), United Kingdom (15.8%), France (13.2%), Italy (10.9%) and Germany (9.9%)."

SNIP

"Some critics say that the legalization of soft drugs often leads to quicker consuming of hard drugs. Yet, the percentage of the population which ever consumed cocaine in the Netherlands is still lower than that of the United Kingdom, Spain and Italy. The situation is similar for other hard drugs.

In contrast with most countries' policies, the Dutch policy has yielded positive results in the war against drugs. The Netherlands spends more than €130 million annually on facilities for addicts, of which about fifty percent goes to drug addicts. The Netherlands has extensive demand reduction programs, reaching about ninety percent of the country's 25,000 to 28,000 hard drug users. The number of hard drug addicts has stabilized in the past few years and their average age has risen to 38 years. The number of drug-related deaths in the country remains the lowest in Europe."
Link>
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drug_policy_of_the_Netherlands

I'd like to add that the average IQ of Nederlanders is the highest in the western world and except for Nazi occupation during WWII they have never had fascists dictating government policy.

Posted by: Speller | 2006-08-30 8:58:38 AM


Thank you for your post, Speller, but I don't care if it is "not higher than" other countries. I want to know if it went up or down. The Netherland's decriminalized possession and allowed small scale sales of marijuana beginning in 1976. According to the http://www.drugpolicy.org/marijuana/factsmyths/ page, the Netherland's "policy has not resulted in dramatically escalating cannabis use." As well, the http://www.drugwardistortions.org/distortion1.htm page states that "From 1972 to 1978, eleven states decriminalized marijuana possession (covering one-third of the US population) and 33 other states reduced punishment to probation with record erased after six months to one year. Yet, after 1978 marijuana use steadily declined for over a decade. Decriminalization did not increase marijuana use."

That is good news. I still want alcohol and other drug users to be responsible for their actions especially if they are going to be legalized. At least now if they kill or maim someone while driving under the influence, drug users can at least be charged with possession if they have any left in their possession.

John M Reynolds

Posted by: jmrSudbury | 2006-08-30 1:30:22 PM


John what decreased was the contact that MJ users had with those who sell harder drugs. I'm not sure but it seems that there was no increase in use.

The part that really caught my eye was that the average age of hard drug users is increasing. That shows less new addicts.

That said, a proper culture surrounding all drug use, including alcohol, is needed to decrease the abuse of these substances when in a position of responsibility, whether it is driving a car or babysitting.

People who abuse positions of responsibility leading to the harm of others should be held responsible for negligence and/or wreckless endangerment for a start.

Posted by: Speller | 2006-08-30 2:16:34 PM



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