Canadian Doctors Want To Prescribe Heroin For Select Patients

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…

Actor Billy Campbell Tours His Favorite Haunts in Vancouver

Billy Campbell’s back in Vancouver and loving every gray, rain-soaked minute of it. The actor has been a sporadic resident since 1998, and he’s currently in town filming the second season of The Killing, the AMC crime drama in which he stars as Darren Richmond, a cagey politician in a town riveted by the unsolved murder of a young girl. But Campbell’s no interloper. Not only does he own his own spectacular loft in Yaletown, he also boasts a laundry list of Vancouver bona fides, having hiked the notorious Grouse Grind, shredded nearby Cypress Mountain on a snowboard, jogged through Stanley Park, surfed the frigid waves off Vancouver Island, and “contemplated” the Sun Yat-Sen Gardens in Chinatown with the aid of a certain homegrown specialty. Most important, though, is his affection for the city’s notoriously bleak weather. “I wake up here and it’s gray and rainy, but I feel like it’s a sunny day,” he says, which might explain his good cheer as he takes us to his favorite spots for dining, drinking, and relaxing by a fire during a typically damp day in “Hollywood North.”

+Alpha Izakaya Tapas Bar
1099 Richards Street, 604-633-0355

Vancouver is a city of sushi bars, but I hardly go anywhere else. There was a time I was coming here every night. I had a Japanese girlfriend who said, “Let me take you where we eat.” The izakaya here is imaginative. One of my favorites is an Italian Spring Roll (mozzarella cheese, fresh tomato, and basil in deep-fried spring roll).

The Railway Club
579 Dunsmuir Street, 604-681-1625

Vancouver’s got some terrific little music venues, and The Railway is sort of the mothership. They do this crazy sing-along the first Monday of every month that’s a Vancouver institution—as is the bartender, Dana, and her espresso martinis. It’s full of characters, and I love everything from the model train that runs along the ceiling to the kitschy Prince Charles and Princess Diana needlepoint in the back bar.

The Keefer Bar
135 Keefer Street, 604-688-1961

Two of my costars live near this place. I almost did too, but I think I dodged a bullet because I’d be here all the time. The gin rosemary cocktail Gez the bartender makes is unbelievable. Plus they have great small plates like dim sum, spring rolls, and Peking duck sliders which are perfect late night snacks.

Market by Jean-Georges
1115 Alberni Street, 604-695-1115

I heard the lead bartender here, Jay Jones, is one of the best in Canada. Here’s why I believe it: One of my favorite books is Alfred Lansing’s Endurance about the explorer Ernest Shackleton’s most famous expedition to Antarctica. So when, out of the blue, my man Jay brought out his commemorative bottle of whiskey blended to replicate a case Shackleton lost in Antarctic ice 102 years ago, what was left of my mind was totally blown.

Go Fish Ocean Emporium
1505 W. 1st Avenue (@ Fisherman’s Wharf), 604-730-5040

This glorified fish shack is close to Granville Island Market, but not everyone knows that it’s open year-round. These guys have huge line-ups every day in the summertime. But I just found out they’re open in the winter, too. Some- times it’s just me and the co-owner, Wanda. The fish couldn’t be fresher, or her wit more dry. They have a sister restaurant up the hill that’s a sit-down place serving beer, but I prefer just standing at the counter out on the water.

The Billy Bishop Branch 176 Royal Canadian Legion
1407 Laburnum Street, 604-738-4142

I spent the best New Year’s Eve here by the fire with my milliner friend Kelly Dunlap. After talking about videogames and nerd stuff with Simmer the bartender and mingling with the old guys, I realized I had to become a member. It cost me sixty bucks. It’s the most authentic English-style pub I’ve found in Vancouver, and to top it off, it used to be a rugby club, and that’s my favorite sport.

Vancouver Openings: Kranky Cafe, Nelson The Seagull, Bel Café

Kranky Cafe (Main Street) – Top-notch (albeit tiny) bakery, teahouse, coffeeshop, and gallery with a prime sunny-weather patio.

Nelson The Seagull (Gastown) – Brooklyn coffeehouse cool, without the need for a TSA patdown.

Bel Café (Downtown) -Casual epicurean delights from the heart of Vancouver’s most elegant new hotel.

Feel the Need for Speed in Whistler, B.C.

It’s theoretically winter, even though most of us missed out on a white Christmas. But that hasn’t stopped many travelers of looking elsewhere for their snow fix. And leave our neighbors to the north to bring the powder. The sporty city of Whistler, already home to some of the best skiing on the planet, has opened its new bobsled facility this week to the public. It’s the same track used in the 2010 Winter Olympics, which is the steepest in the world. 

After a quick orientation, you’ll cram into a sled with two other bobsledders and your pilot, you’ll go hurtle down the track at nearly 80 miles an hour, experiencing more than three Gs of force on your way to the finish line. We’d recommend choosing a hotel with an appropriately equipped spa to massage away any unexpected aches and pains after your ordeal. Try the massive, modern Westin Whistler Resort & Spa, or the warm, elegant Fairmont Chateau Whistler, where the granite soaking tubs in every room are just a complement to the full spa and heated mountainside hot tubs. Visit the Whistler Sliding Centre to book.