Society pays a high price for the bad choices of a few

This writer has an interesting take on the Insite controversy.

Some of his beliefs about addiction are deeply flawed:

I recognize, though, that the advantages of life are not universally shared. I recognize that some people have more choices than others. I recognize, too, that some people have stronger wills than others, and an instinct not to throw their lives down the drain.

I’m not aware that there are gangs, wielding syringes, roaming our streets and delivering the first fix that is said to begin addiction. I don’t know what it is that forces thinking and aware people to become junkies if they don’t have to.

I understand there may be some pre-existing medical condition that requires substances that are proscribed because there’s nothing else available — drugs that can make a partial life bearable.

But, he does make some interesting points:

I think it’s commendable that our society tries to treat those who are addicted and get them off drugs, tries to prevent others from being hooked and tries to enforce laws that it deems appropriate to punish traffickers and those who commit other crimes to feed their self-destructive habit.

It’s also commendable that society tries to reduce the collateral damage of addiction — things like the spread of disease and the risk of harm, including death from overdose, to users.

This last bit is where Vancouver’s Insite fits in. It’s been an experiment with very modest results that are merely collateral to drug addiction and are measured in negatives. No one has died on the premises.

Based on the opinion of its supporters among medical practitioners and authorities and the less universal endorsement of police, there should be Insites in every city and town across Canada.

There aren’t for two reasons: There are far greater medical priorities in the country, and our society is uncomfortable providing places for people to break the law and supplying professional backup to ensure they can do so safely.

Surely more is accomplished in treating addicts, trying to get them off the stuff and giving them a little hope than by idly standing by to “supervise” their self-destruction and then allowing them out to crawl in the filth again.

The idea that people have a constitutional entitlement to be rescued by the state while continuing to harm themselves, under the guise of the right to life, liberty and security of the person, surely is absurd. I hope a higher court declares it so.

This seems like someone who would be open to a both/and response if either side was offering one.