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CAST,a bad idea but at least an idea

Submitted by David Borden on
Vancouver has turfed it's controversial and often arrogant Mayor for the November election.In a surprise runoff for the candidacy of the NPA's leader,Peter Ladner has defeated Sam Sullivan.As a city councilman,Sullivan was an often outspoken advocate for the east side addict community.As Mayor,he talked a lot but did nothing.Now,in his first statement distancing himself from Sullivan.Ladner chose Sam's illusion of a drug policy known as CAST as his target.This was a truly awful attempt at drug policy and there was never any chance of it coming to fruition.Having said that,it was at least an attempt.Peter Ladner,Sullivan's replacement came out today saying that he did not believe that drug addiction was irreversible and that he favored abstinence and treatment.Not only was this a strange subject to pick as his first policy statement.It sounds like Ladner wants to reverse every gain in drug reform in the last 40 years and return to a just say no attitude.That he supported InSite was small consolation as he followed his support by limiting it to a single site and a refusal to even consider any new locations.Ladner 's ineffable approach to drug policy is a major disappointment after a series of Mayor's that have been proactive in their views on drug policy. Should he be elected it will throw drug policy in Vancouver back many years and return us to a punitive and failed policy that we had hoped we'd seen the last of.His statements were frank and bleak as hell for a city with a world class drug ghetto and that's been fighting tooth and nail to counter balance the destructive policy's of the Harper Conservative government in Ottawa.Giving addicts prescription drugs as a replacement for street narcotics could have been a workable solution if the choices had made any sense.Whoever was in charge of choosing which drugs to use to replace the street opposite were ill thought out and were obviously made without any input from the addicts themselves.There was no consideration given to the hold that injecting drugs has on hard core addicts.It would have repeated the awful conditions that mixing methadone with tang has caused.Methadone pills were even worse.Long time addicts have the worst time trying to inject whatever they are allowed as a substitute.With the availability of clean needles and other supplies the time for restricting the way an addict takes their narcotic should be reassessed.Injection drug use requires 3-6 times less drug and is far more workable for the addicts.I know many heroin addicts who have said they would stick to methadone if they could inject it but it would be unwise to make the switch if the injectable form was available.I haven't heard what the policy on drugs will be from the other candidates as no-one has mentioned it that I've heard.I'm sure that once the other parties decide who they will run against Ladner.The question will be broached by someone,me if no one else does.

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