Have you ever walked by the Downtown Eastside neighborhood in Vancouver B.C.? If you haven’t, it very much resembles the zombie apocalypse. The dozen square blocks of dilapidated tenements and boarded storefronts that comprises the area is the home to one of the highest concentrations of drug addicts in the world. I’ve traveled to some shady places in my life – and I’ve never seen anything like it. The concentration of drug addicts conjures up imagery of a real-life The Walking Dead. But a solution has been proposed.
According to the Globe and Mail:
Doctors in British Columbia are calling on Health Canada to permit prescription heroin for severely addicted patients exiting a groundbreaking clinical trial, insisting a promising alternative is not yet supported by scientific evidence.
The idea is a bit controversial: Prescribe herion to chronic addicts so they wont have to resort to crime to feed their habits. Naturally the idea is disputed with Canada’s medical community on a solution to the fight against addition and societal problems in "Drug Central of North America."
Will this program work? Before you decide your opinion, here’s a few stats on Downtown Eastside:
-The first needle exchange program in North America started in Vancouver in 1989. Currently it distributes around 3 million free needles per year.
-The advocacy group, Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users (VANDU),was set up to lobby for the rights and freedoms of residents of Vancouver who use drugs.
-40% of homeless people living in this area suffer from a mental illness
-The most common drugs used in Downtown Eastside are heroin, crack cocaine, and crystal meth.
– Over 1.4 billion dollars has been spent by federal, provincial and municipal governments since 2001 on health, social and justice efforts aimed at improving the numerous problems faced by the neighborhood’s residents.
What’s your opinion on Canadian doctors prescribing heroin? Let BlackBook know in the comments below…