Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Gov't Hands Out Info on How to Shoot Up On Drugs

Wed, September 1, 2004
Shooting up 101
Pamphlet teaches you how to do it properly
By TOM BRODBECK, CITY COLUMNIST

Remember the free crack pipe kits government is giving out to drug addicts? Now they're handing out detailed instructions -- with diagrams -- on how to shoot up, including where to stick the needle, how to prepare your drugs and neat tips on how to strain dope from one syringe to another.

It's a pamphlet called Prevent and Protect Yourself & Others: Safer Injection Drug Use, and it's handed out to addicts at clinics and other establishments.

"Choosing a Vein," reads one header, where they give advice on how best to inject drugs into your system.

"Rotate sites," it says. "Try to use new sites, too much of one vein will cause it to collapse."

You may want to test your shots first before you take a full dose of dope if you're "using a new dealer," it continues.

"Find a comfortable position, use tourniquet to tie off vein ... insert needle into the vein at 45 degree angle. Bevel up. Untie tourniquet. Inject slowly."

And my favourite:

"Give your veins a holiday once in a while!" it says.

"Smoke, snort or eat your drugs instead."

Wow. I am a wild party.

How about: "Give your veins a holiday, don't use drugs for a while."

TOO MUCH SENSE

I guess that makes too much sense. I thought the crack kits were bad. This pamphlet takes the cake.

Nowhere in the brochure does it give tips or advice on how to quit drugs.

Instead, it gives you the ins and outs of drug use and it reads more like a Suzy Creamcheese homemaker magazine than medical advice on how to avoid contracting a disease.

"Split up drugs when dry," it says. "Use your own spoon, filter and water."

"Don't shoot up alone," it says.

What, bring a friend?

Don't inject the needle into your head or wrists, it says. That's good advice. But other parts of your body are OK, it says.

"If surface veins in the arms are good, use them but rotate sites regularly," it recommends. "The veins on the back of the hand and the top of the foot are fragile, so inject slowly. It will hurt."

I don't get this much detail from my dentist on how to brush and floss properly.

This is all part of some new-age approach to dealing with drug addicts called "harm reduction."

It's the same philosophy behind the crackpot idea of handing out free crack pipes to crack heads.

We're supposed to coddle the addicts and "bring them into the fold."

When they're "ready" for treatment -- after we've given them five years supply of crack pipes, needles and how-to manuals -- we then ask them if they would like treatment.

Aren't they dead by then?

What's interesting is that every recovering addict who has called me over the past few days -- in response to my columns on the subject last week -- is against this approach.

Most of them are enraged that government is doing this and they say all it does is encourage drug use and make it more difficult to quit.

Every time I ask proponents of this harm-reduction approach for scientific evidence to back up their claims that it helps reduce the spread of disease and does not encourage drug use, I never get any.

That's because it doesn't exist.