Vancouver operates the first legal “safe house” in North America for the injection of illicit narcotics and use of other street drugs. Known as Insite, it provides a safe and medically supervised site for the use of illicit drugs. The project has drawn criticism because it is said to condone the use of illicit drugs and to support drug trafficking. There has been continuing legal action against Insite, from those who favor criminalization and penalties against drug users and traffickers, aimed at closing it down.
Over the past ten years the centre has received positive feedback and support from many interest groups. Reports would indicate that many of the negative aspects and harms associated with illicit drug use have been significantly reduced, to the benefit of all concerned. There have been no deaths from accidental overdose, overall improvement to the health of addicts. Thousands of addicts continue to use the facility to make their drug use safer.
Insite is a joint initiative of the Portland Hotel Society (PHS) which is also active in providing low cost housing for the socially disadvantaged, including drug users. In August this year PHS opened the Bosman Hotel Community which offers supported hotel-style accommodation for 100 homeless people.
The local community is very much in favor of these initiatives. Although these initiatives don’t in any way try to enable addicts to recover from their addictions – at least drug use has been cleaned up – the homeless and addicts are out of sight and off the streets.
Insite provides an umbrella, a shield if you like, which protects addicts from many of the harmful consequences of illicit drug use. However, the addicts are still regarded as being patients to be cared for, rather than being helped towards full recovery.
Criticism has been made of Insite that it fails to provide results – that as a result of their efforts, drug use is not reduced, This is not the purpose or intention of the facility. Seeing drug use as an inevitable problem – they are simply trying to make continued drug use safer, and help keep addicts off the streets.
Until authorities begin to understand and accept that the real causes of drug use relate to issues of emotional security and self esteem no further progress can be made towards assisting drug users towards a complete recovery from their need to use.
Holistic facilities, both counseling and residential enable drug addicts to completely detox from drugs, with no replacement drug treatments. Rehabilitation methods include help for addicts to deal with emotional conflict which needs to be sorted out. Once this is achieved addicts recover from addiction and have no need to use. People turn to drugs of addiction to deal with emotional pain. Addiction is not a disease but disordered functioning of the body, primarily of the endocrine system, in response to stress.
Until society matures to a level at which basic human rights and freedoms are not only understood, but supported and implemented, people with emotional suffering as a result of inflicted stress and trauma simply have to resolve the problem by taking responsibility themselves.
Anyone who has turned to drug use as an antidote to stress and emotional pain can find true healing with 100% drug free, clean and natural holistic drug detox and rehab therapies.
Would you rather remain in a “safe house” or regain a sense of purpose and recover your self esteem.