There are times when I just have to ponder, what the heck were they thinking? This story is an example of one of those times.
As reported by Pew Trusts, “In about one hundred locations across Canada, Europe and Australia, supervised drug injection facilities allow visitors to inject heroin and other drugs in a clean, well-lighted space under the watchful eye of trained personnel who can rescue them if they overdose.
Tens of thousands of drug users have visited the facilities, thousands have overdosed and, researchers say, no deaths have been reported. Studies show that a substantial number of drug users who visit safe injection sites end up in treatment, which is routinely offered to them. Research also has shown that the facilities help contain hepatitis C and HIV infections and are a cost-effective way to save lives.
The United States — with an overdose death rate that far exceeds that of any other country — has failed to open a single government-sanctioned facility. This year, that may change. Legislatures in California and Vermont are considering bills that would legalize and, in some cases, fund safe injection facilities. Seattle and surrounding King County have approved and budgeted for two such facilities. And advocates in Boston, Denver, New York, Philadelphia and San Francisco are pursuing similar initiatives. Political momentum for sanctioned injection sites has been building in the United States over the past three years, advocates say. And this year, more state legislatures and local officials appear closer than ever to providing the needed government support.”
In full disclosure, I have never been a consumer of alcohol or taken any drugs. Perhaps my assessment on this matter is a bit biased, and may appear so to y’all, our readers. But I’m trying to examine this from a commonsense perspective. My first question is simple: are we now heading down a path to legalize ALL drugs? If we’re seeking to establish government funded “safe injection sites,” then in essence these state and local governments are legalizing these drugs for use. From a taxpayer perspective, I would be apoplectic to know my tax dollars are being used in such a fashion.
Can you just imagine the ramifications of the areas where these safe sites will be located? Forget about it when it comes to safety and security, along with property values. And what does this say to our law enforcement officers and agencies? Are there now “safe spaces” for illegal drug use? And is there a zone of protection that surrounds these safe injection sites? I mean can a drug dealer stand outside of the facility and sell their poison…without any consequence? Or perhaps it will be voted that the state and local government will pay for the heroin, or whatever drug being taken. And who’s paying for the monitors in these facilities, and when these addicts do overdose, who’s on the hook to pay for their medical attention?
Are we then raising the white flag of surrender to drug abuse and use? Are we now stating that the only thing we can do when it comes to drugs is just legalize and try to “contain” it? I’m sorry, but I do take issue with this approach. I believe as a constitutional conservative in individual rights and freedoms. I believe that the individual is sovereign and can make their own decisions…but there’s also individual responsibility, and consequences for those decisions.
If I am to be my “brother’s keeper,” then I will define how my brother is to be kept. I do not consent or agree with accommodating negative behavior. I don’t like drunk driving, nor do I want stoned folks out driving. I do not want facilities that allow drugs to be used as a means to control overdosing on drugs.
I’m not being heartless, but I do ask a simple question…why? Why can’t we defeat this scourge by promoting better and healthier living? Why is it that I wake up six mornings out of a week to run and workout? Why is it that I pay attention to eating healthy and not abusing my own body? Why can’t we incentivize positive living habits, instead of appeasing the negative? And why must the resources of those be used for the illicit behavior of others? I am sympathetic, but I want to help those who want to be helped…not have their negative behaviors accepted.
Legally, there is a challenge here: “Opponents of safe injection sites, including some police departments and prosecutors, point to the federal Controlled Substances Act and state laws prohibiting the possession and use of heroin and other drugs. They say sworn police officers and federal agents can’t be expected to ignore people who walk into an injection facility, knowing they likely have dope in their pockets. And the U.S. attorney in Vermont, Christina E. Nolan, said a proposal in the state legislature to sanction safe injection facilities would violate federal laws that prohibit “maintaining a premises for the purpose of narcotics use.”
Many local officials also worry that allowing people to use drugs in a public facility would send a signal that drug use is acceptable. Seattle and surrounding King County, Washington, have approved two facilities, but it has been difficult to find a place for them because officials in suburban towns outside Seattle have filed suits to block the facilities from their communities. Similarly, Boston Mayor Martin Walsh, a Democrat, opposes a bill in the Massachusetts legislature that calls for creating multiple injection facilities in the city. ”
It would appear there is a sentiment that our goal should be to contain drug overdoses. My belief is that we need to explain there’s nothing positive about drug use and abuse. Of course, some will accuse me of supporting the “war on drugs” and that it’s a failure. Now, I could truly respond by stating if folks want to do drugs, then let them endure the consequences. Sadly, the consequences are not contained to the users themselves, but proliferate throughout the society. Perhaps I should ask that the state of Texas or city of Dallas provide me a new pair of running shoes every two years — of my choice of course. You laugh, but why not? If this is a viable idea that will be funded by taxpayer dollars, then why not subsidize positive behaviors?
The difference is I take responsibility for my health and choose to live a healthy lifestyle. Maybe we need safe sites that teach those principles. Not this absurd concept that someone will take responsibility for the negative actions and behaviors of another.
Like I said, what the heck are folks thinking?
[Learn more about Allen West’s vision for this nation in his book Guardian of the Republic: An American Ronin’s Journey to Faith, Family and Freedom]