Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Harm Reduction Drug Policies

I’m sure you want to know. After all, enquiring minds always do. I’m sure you want to know how liberal policies by liberal mayors in liberal cities have turned some of these cities into hellholes. Especially on the oh-so-blue west coast.

Now, Erica Sandberg offers an explanation… the best one we have seen. The reason that San Francisco has been invaded and occupied by drug addicts and the homeless can be traced directly to a policy called: harm reduction.

Its purpose is simple. To make it safe and easy to shoot up, to take drugs, to sustain an addiction.

Sandberg explains:

Drugs are destroying San Francisco’s most densely populated and desirable neighborhoods, as more and more addicts, many of them homeless, fill the streets. Politicians and activists are pushing “harm reduction,” which, in a clinical sense, means a “set of practical strategies and ideas aimed at reducing negative consequences associated with drug use,” such as overdose or the transmission of disease. But in a contemporary context, it also means “a movement for social justice built on a belief in, and respect for, the rights of people who use drugs.”

Harm reduction, originally a controversial public-health measure, has become a religion among advocates, even as fears that the practice would normalize drug use have been borne out. Organizations like the San Francisco Drug Users Union demand “a safe environment where people can use & enjoy drugs” and a “positive image of drug users to engender respect within our community and from outside our community.” True believers dominate City Hall as well as a network of affiliated, politicized nonprofits that operate in the city with little oversight or accountability. In this environment, questioning harm reduction or its effects borders on heresy. But are the programs actually helping impoverished addicts? And what is the impact on the community?

Yes, indeed. Drug addicts have rights. They have the right to be addicted. They have the right to use clean needles. And they have the right to dispose of said needles wherever they please. Was this what John Locke was thinking when he began theorizing about human rights?

The harm reduction program assumes, as an article of faith, that addicts will stay addicted. It assumes that they will either use dirty needles or clean needles. Some proponents of harm reduction suggest that their programs will help wean people off of drugs. Of course, this is simply a lie. Reality says otherwise.

Under the circumstances, Sandberg continues, we can justify some of the harm reduction programs. Unfortunately, they have been extended to include providing all of the paraphernalia needed to keep taking drugs:

It’s true that sterile needles reduce the transmission of blood-borne infections, and injecting narcotics under supervision can lower the risk of overdose and death. But harm reduction goes far beyond promoting these kinds of needle-safety measures. For example, At the Crossroads, a nonprofit, assembled “safe snorting kits” for at-risk and homeless youth. Baggies were filled with straws, chopping mats, plastic razor blades, and instruction sheets. Other groups offer crack-cocaine “safe-smoking” kits. A proposal to open “safe injection” sites, opposed by Jerry Brown, is favored by Governor Gavin Newsom, and is likely to succeed.

Harm reduction advocates pay lip service to helping people to quit taking drugs. But, Sandberg continues, their policies are really designed to remove the stigma around drug use. And that means, as always happens when you remove a stigma, more drug use.

Harm-reduction efforts are sometimes sold as ways to connect with addicts, offer them other services, and help them get off drugs. But those laudable goals are not really what motivate advocates, who want mostly to remove the stigma surrounding drug use. Addicts may eventually pursue treatment or stop using on their own, but a central principle of harm-reduction theory is accepting and respecting drug use. As a result, an astonishing number of addicts on San Francisco streets hover on the edge of death, despite a continuous supply of clean needles.
What happens when you reduce a stigma?

The advocates have certainly succeeded in reducing stigma—it’s easy to find people openly injecting into their arms, legs, toes, and necks. Their exposed flesh shows infected sores; they stumble, fall, and pass out. There seem to be more of them, and in worse condition, every day. Addicts congregate on sidewalks, in parks, subway stations, and outside businesses. They die in school doorways.

The proliferation of used needles on San Francisco’s streets provoked a public outcry. And it even provoked some local government action:

San Francisco’s streets and transportation system are littered with discarded syringes. After massive public outcry (and streams of embarrassing media reports) about the proliferation of hazardous medical waste on the streets and sidewalks, the city contracted with the San Francisco AIDS Foundation, at approximately $1 million per year, to hire a cleanup crew. Roughly 60 percent of the needles now get collected.

Of course, in a decadent culture, a culture in decline, people use addictive substances to numb the psychic pain. In the meantime, San Francisco’s quality of life continues to decline:

Meantime, quality of life in the city continues to erode. Tourism is threatened, retailers close, and families leave. Yet harm-reduction zealots remain adamant in their views. During public discussions about safe-injection sites, they dismiss legitimate concerns about increased drug-dealing, burglaries, violence, and vagrancy. In community meetings, Department of Public Health representatives disregard residents’ misgivings. Typical complaints—“Why are you doing this? Bloody needles are everywhere, people are injecting in front of my kid’s preschool, I’m afraid to take my dog for a walk”—are met with responses that usually begin, “This is harm reduction.” In San Francisco’s brave new world, there is no room for the skeptic.

An astonishing picture. All in the name of the gospel of harm reduction.

Remember the Hippocratic oath, which opens: First, do no harm.

San Francisco now encourages people to harm themselves and others… in the name of harm reduction.


sestamibi said...

"Baggies were filled with straws, chopping mats, plastic razor blades, and instruction sheets."

Not plastic straws, I hope?

Sam L. said...

It's Frisco. Clearly a lot of insane or stupid people live there, on purpose. The druggies' purpose is to take drugs that taxpayers pay for. One wonders when they will either move away or revolt.

UbuMaccabee said...

Organizations like the San Francisco Drug Users Union demand “a safe environment where people can use & enjoy drugs” and a “positive image of drug users to engender respect within our community and from outside our community.”

I wish to masturbate in public. I expect a safe environment where I can use and enjoy myself in public. I demand that public onanism be subsidized by the city. I expect San Francisco to present public masturbation with a positive image that engenders respect from people both within and from outside our community.

I wish to have sex with animals in public...defecate...commit suicide...eat other people...rough group sex...dump dead bodies in the street...steal...

II demand...I expect...engender respect...

California cannot secede fast enough.

UbuMaccabee said...

I left Santa Clara County in 2008. I spent a lot of time in San Francisco, and the city has provided me with hundreds of lessons in how not to run a city and how a civilization can collapse right in front of your eyes in under a decade. The most aggressive, crazy, filthy, arrogant bums, addicts, and drunken hobos since the days of the Barbary Coast. I was always armed.

Sam L. said...

OFF TOPIC: https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/politics/poor-people-not-allowed-in-aocs-luxury-apartment-complex

Could it be worth a post?

Leo G said...