In the area around Vancouver, British Columbia 914 people died from drug overdoses in 2016. This is nearly double the number of deaths in 2015 (when 510 people died from drug overdoses). Prior to 2015 the record year for drug overdose deaths in British Columbia was 1998 (when 400 people died from drug overdoses).
The monthly total of 142 deaths in December 2016 is also a record high for British Columbia, surpassing the previous record of 128 deaths in November 2016. The death rate for so far this year indicates January 2017 will break December’s record.
This proves drug use increases as the number of supervised injection sites increase. The purpose of the supervised injection sites is to reduce drug-use fatalities by providing addicts with clean needles and immediate access to medical care in overdose cases.
Since the number of fatalities is actually increasing as the number of supervised injection sites increase, it is obvious that this is not working. This is because supervised injection sites send give the false impression that the government not only tolerates “recreational drug use” but also provides (free of charge) a “safety-net” for those who wish to get high.
Technically most of the deaths are not from heroin use per se. Heroin, ecstasy and other drugs in British Columbia (and elsewhere) now contain Fentanyl, a synthetic opioid that is far more powerful (and hence much cheaper) than heroin.
This is largely irrelevant. I say this because heroin (and other such drugs) are illegal precisely because they are poisonous. They should never be used for “recreational” purposes. Tolerating their use (even legalizing it) will not make them less poisonous.
So now the poison of heroin contains the even more powerful poison of Fentanyl making “recreational drug” use even more deadly. The answer is to discourage “recreational drug” use, not to facilitate it.
Nobody dies from withdrawal and withdrawal is the only way to escape addictive use. Treating an addict for overdose and then releasing the addict back to the street to inject themselves with drugs again does not prevent death, it only postpones it. The records show some addicts have been treated for overdoses again and again until finally their luck ran out and they died before they could be treated. One case was reported of an addict being treated for overdoses seven times in the same day!
Believe it or not this problem began with the legalization of “medicinal” marijuana in British Columbia. I put quotes around “medicinal” because marijuana in fact has no real medicinal use. It does not cure any illness or disease. It is only a “feel good” substance that relieves some symptoms about as well as “medicinal whiskey” does. This is why the American Medical Association does not recognize marijuana as a bona-fide medicine or recommend its use as a medicine.
Shortly after “medicinal” marijuana became available in British Columbia the government lost all control of its use. Recreational marijuana use increased so much that the police quit enforcing the law and several marijuana “coffee shops” began to operate in open defiance of the law. Soon Vancouver, Canada became known as the “Amsterdam” of Canada.
As always, hard drugs began to follow. The human brain starts to adjust to all “mind-altering” substances in something like an immune-system response. Soon what once was enough to get high is no longer enough. We see this in wine drinkers that become cognac drinkers and with beer drinkers that eventually graduate to bourbon.
So “recreational” drug users eventually find that marijuana is no longer enough for them and they go to harder drugs. Of course the providers of “recreational” drugs are right behind this, for profits in any addictive market (including alcohol and nicotine) greatly increase as the addiction of customers increases. More money is made selling hard drugs such as heroin and cocaine than selling marijuana. The drug market (like all markets) is competitive and the aggressive drug pushers soon dominate the market.
So before any community anywhere considers legalizing “medical” marijuana and “recreational” marijuana I urge them to take a close look at what has happened in the Vancouver, Canada area in the last few decades where the situation has progressed from legalized “medical” marijuana, to still-illegal but out-of-control “recreational” marijuana use, to soaring use of hard drugs that are killing nearly 1,000 people a year.
Illegal drugs are poisonous. They destroy people and they destroy societies. That is why they are illegal. If we are losing the war on drugs it is for the same reason all wars are lost: we just aren’t fighting hard enough.