Insite, which is located in Vancouver, is the only legal safe injection site in North America. Insite doesn’t provide any drugs but since 2003 it has been operating on a special exemption under the Controlled drugs and substances act to give addicts a safe place to inject their drugs. Insite has been the center of a number of studies, and controversy, since 2003 and has been proven to have benefits to society. The supreme court of Canada made their decision based on the benefits to the community and drug users in Vancouver. A reduction in public injecting, neighbourhood litter (of needles), provides a safe disposal for needles, and syringe sharing (which decreases the spread of disease), and an increase in the use of addiction treatment. There has been several studies also carried out looking at the cost benefit part of Insite. Some of the results included: $6 million in savings on HIV, and hepatitis drugs, and overdose rates dropped in Vancouver. Medical staff are present to provide addiction treatment, mental health assistance, and assistance in the event of an overdose.
Last week the supreme court of Canada made a ruling which could prove to be problematic for the conservatices ‘tough on crime’ agenda. In a
9-0 decision the supreme court of Canada ruled that closing Insite would be against the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, specifically the right to “security of the person”. Canada’s only safe injection site would remain open. Chief Justice Beverly McLachlin explained: “The effect of denying the services of Insite to the population it serves and the correlative increase in the risk of death and disease to injection drug users is grossly disproportionate to any benefit that Canada might derive from presenting a uniform stance on the possession of narcotics.”
This decision makes me wonder if the crack pipe program in Alberta could have held out. The crack pipe program began running in Calgary in November of 2008. The Alberta Health Region was handing out ‘crack pipe kits’. Each kit contained a glass pipe, mouthpiece, cleaning rod, and screens. The argument was similar to Insite’s argument. It was a way to prevent the spread of disease and bring addicts into contact with health care providers that could assist them. In these ways it was very similar to Insite, but the Alberta health region cracked when they began to feel pressure from the police associations who argued that such programs do nothing except encourage drug use. Given the exemption that Insite received, it could be argued that the Alberta crack pipe program falls under the same category and should also be allowed to operate without fear of prosecution on the parts of the health region officials.
What is important to remember about Insite, or even the crack pipe program in Calgary, is that neither of these places was a place where drug addicts could just go do their thing and leave. Like the crack pipe program had, Insite always has health professionals there to speak with addicts about: counseling options, risks to them, as well as address mental health issues with them and the dangers of drug addiction.
The war on drugs has been nothing short of a failure in the United States, and arguably, in some cases, a waste of money. The United States spends $15 billion annually to try and control drugs. Recently an International panel, the Global Commission on Drug Policy, declared the war on drugs a catastrophic failure. The report had what some would say are some common sense recommendations.
First, don’t treat drug addicts as criminals. The report argues that it is not feasible or safe to treat all the drug addicts in the world as criminals. First because it just simply costs too much money, and secondly because with injection users their is just too high of a risk of the spread of disease. Other countries who have similar programs to our Insite have also reported lower rates of the spread of disease such as HIV, and hepititis saving lives and tax payer dollars (as the tax payer has to front the bill, or at least part of it, for medications to treat these diseases).
Second, don’t waste your time with small time drug dealers. I won’t go into this one. I personally think it speaks for itself.
Third, Decriminalize or legalize certain drugs to undercut organized crime. I can’t say this enough. Legalize weed already. A study done in the US points out that legalizing weed would inject $6 billion into the US economy every year. Studies out of other countries who have decriminalized some drugs have shown that with the legalization of possession, and the means to obtain some drugs in a safe legal manner criminal suppliers became less visible. I am not saying that all organized crime would go away, but at the same time organized crime will never go away. Another interesting side effect of the decriminalization of some drugs could be decreased use. why? Because addicts could seek help without fear of prosecution. This study, done by the Beckley Foundation, on the decriminalization of drugs in Portugal looked at over all drug use and found: the use of weed increased, the use of drug treatment increased (due largely to early intervention), there was a decrease in heroin use, and there was a large reduction in drug related deaths. Of course, if I still haven’t convinced you. I’ll just say: remember prohibition?
Canada needs to take a hard look at statistics, and studies given the new policies that the conservative government wishes to pass before the end of the year. The idea is to get tough on drugs. Canadians should be looking to their neighbours to the south and asking some tough questions. It is no secret that the drug policies is costing Americans billions every year, and that the prisons are so overcrowded that some states, such as California, have had to release non violent criminals to ease the pressure on the system. I am not saying lets legalize heroin I am just saying lets not be stupid about this. Portugal has had success because they implemented education programs, treatment centers, and addicts didn’t have to worry about prosecution. Getting addicts clean from drugs should be a priority. No one wants to do drugs. People don’t wake up one morning and say to themselves “hmmm I think I am going to get addicted to Meth today”. This program has proved effective, and it allows users to come into contact with health professionals. It could be the first step. Until we have better programs implemented this is one way to ensure that needles and other drug related paraphernalia is disposed of appropriately. But more importantly it has been proven to save lifes.
Friday afternoon corrections Canada confirmed that Clifford Olson
died in a Quebec hospital.
On September 21, 2011 it was reported that Olson was dying of an unnamed type of cancer and didn’t have long to live.
Olson had earned the label as Canada’s most notorious and ruthless serial killer in the 80s. He terrorized BC residents in 1980 killing at least 11 young people between the ages of 9 and 18 often raping and strangling them. In August of 1981 Olson plea bargained with the RCMP and in exchange for the government paying his family $100,000 ($10,000 per victim) he not only confessed to the murders he would lead RCMP to the bodies. This plea bargain would prove unpopular with the Canadian public. Once convicted Olson earned himself a dangerous offender label, making it unlikely he would ever be released from prison.
In 1997, Olson would apply for parole under Canada’s Faint Hope Clause which, in short, states that an offender who has served at least 15 years may apply for parole. Once an inmate has served 25 years they are also eligible for parole and Olson exercised his right to do so in July of 2006, once again he was denied parole. He would make one last attempt in November of 2010 (in Canada an inmate is allowed to apply for parole every two years after the initial 25 years).
Back in March of 2010 Olson would find himself once again back in the spotlight as it was revealed to Canadians that he was recieving a monthly cheque from the government in the amount of $1,169.47 for old age security. Bill C-31 would be put forth to disallow prisoners to be able to get old age security as a result. As a side note It was reported that in September of 2010 Olson sent one of his cheques to a reporter and asked them to pass it along to Stephen Harpers campaign for reelection.
I don’t rejoice in the death of anyone, that said this is a man that the world won’t miss.
Three-year-old Kienan Hebert is still missing tonight after he went missing from his home Wednesday morning. Police suspect Randall Hopley, 46 of kidnapping the boy. Hopley has an intense criminal record that includes breaking and entering, and sexual assault and was just released from jail last week.
Today the RCMP have asked people in BC to start searching their vacant properties for any sign of forced entry. “See if there’s anything suspicious, any sign of break-ins, anything stolen,” RCMP told reporters . They are also asking business to review survelliance tape for any sign of either Kienan or Hopley “We ask that you review them. If you see something, and you believe you have images of the suspect or the vehicle, please contact police.”
CTV reported today that volunteers were searching the woods by the families home for any sign of him today but have turned up nothing.
Kienan was last seen Tuesday Sept 6 when his parents tucked him in for the night in their home. Police are asking the public to watch for a brown 1987 Toyota Camry with B.C. licence plate 098 RAL. Hopley is white, 5-foot-10, 147 lbs., brown hair and hazel eyes. Please call 911 if you see the car, or either Kienan, or the suspect.
Update September 10, 2011: Amber Alert Extended to Alberta on a limited basis. Pictures will be displayed on Alberta highways this weekend and the public is still being asked to keep their eyes open for the pair.
Update: amber alert canceled! Herbert was dropped off around 3 am this morning say RCMP. More to come…
Call Sparwood RCMP with any information at 1-250-425-6233.
This story is all kinds of creepy, weird, and awful. According to the National Post A 46 year old father was arrested July 22 and charged with three counts of sexual assault, 2 counts of sexual interference, 1 count of sexual exploitation,1 count of a parent or guardian procuring sexual activity, and two count of living off the avails of prostitution. In addition police have charged 3 men between the ages of 34-67 with engaging in sexual acts with a minor. “The three men have been arrested in relation to an ongoing investigation involving the procurement of a youth for sexual purpose,” said Cpl. Annie Linteau. “Numerous charges have now been laid against the father who was allegedly making his daughter available to these men for sexual purposes.” One man Benny Wolfe, a mayoral candidate for Penticton, BC, has come forward to say he didn’t know the girl was underage.
“She was reasonable, $100 for an hour of her time,” Wolfe told media. He admits to being a client of the girls for 8 weeks but believing that she was of age. “I have had three threats against my life and I have had to report to the police on three different occasions, I also had a lady at the Farmers’ Market basically challenge me, and I said look at the paper, read the news but don’t judge me unless you have the full facts. Let the courts hear the evidence, then after all the evidence has been heard and the judge has ruled, then you can criticize me, if there is any at all.”
Mr Wolfe had this to say about his ‘public vs personal’ life “what I have alleged to have done may not be acceptable to the majority of law-abiding citizens but I take full responsibility for anything I do in life and what I do in my personal life has nothing to do with my public life.” Whether or not you knew the girl was of age is not the point (and frankly hard to believe). What you do in your private life represents your character and integrity. Of course it has to do with your public life. You are a figure in your community who wants to represent the people of Penticton. To an extent I really don’t care what a politician does in private but there is a line and child rape is definitively across that line.
It’s rape, it’s child abuse, and it’s disgusting. Something tells me that the majority of the people in Penticton would agree with me. Go figure you have been ostracized from you community. Sorry to tell you but your dream of becoming Penticton’s next mayor is probably down the drain as well.