Talking about drugs, Part One -

Talking about drugs, Part One

Heroin-assisted treatment and Rob Ford


From QP yesterday afternoon, NDP MP Libby Davies questions the government about restricting access to heroin-assisted treatment for a group of addicts (and makes a reference to Rob Ford).

Libby Davies: Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Health made a heartless decision to prevent those who need access to medicalized opiates from having it. She ignored her own experts and she ignored those who provide treatment when she changed the special access program. Is it too much to ask of the minister to put ideology aside and support a method of treatment that is scientifically proven to be effective?

Eve Adams: Mr. Speaker, our policy is to take heroin out of the hands of addicts, not to put it in their arms. We do support drug treatment programs that work to end drug use in a safe way, so that those who are struggling with addiction can recover and maintain a drug-free life. Drug treatment should be focused on ending drug use and recovering into a drug-free life.

Libby Davies: Mr. Speaker, it is ironic that the only person suffering from addiction that the Conservatives seem to have compassion for is the mayor of Toronto. It is inexplicable that the minister went against her own department, attacking the experts. She chose to recklessly put lives at risk. No wonder her decision is now facing a court challenge. Did the minister not learn anything from the Supreme Court decision on InSite? Will she reconsider providing this needed treatment?

Eve Adams: Mr. Speaker, under the special access program, Health Canada can approve emergency access to certain medicines for Canadians with rare diseases or terminal illness. This program was not intended as a way to give illicit drugs to addicts. Our government’s position against the use of dangerous and addictive drugs is clear. To keep dangerous drugs like heroin out of Canadian communities, our government has taken action to protect the integrity of the special access program and closed that loophole. I will continue to protect Canadian families and continue in investing in drug prevention programs for individuals and children.

Just before Question Period, NDP MP Andrew Cash read a statement about Toronto and its mayor that referred to Mr. Ford as the “Prime Minister’s fishing buddy” and Megan Leslie later made a reference to Mr. Ford while questioning the government side about the Duffy affair. The Prime Minister’s Office then worked a reference to Justin Trudeau into its comment on Rob Ford.

As for heroin-assisted treatment, never mind compassion and never mind Rob Ford. The conflict here is about what science has shown, what medical professionals advise and what a government decides is permissible (and on what basis it makes that decision). Maybe Rob Ford might somehow make us think about how we view drug use and addiction. But it’s the facts of the situation in British Columbia that matter here.

See previously:  The politics of the heroin addictHeroin-assisted treatment and politics-based medicinePerry Kendall on heroin-assisted treatment‘No evidence,’ Minister Ambrose?‘Under the guise of treatment’ and Heroin-assisted treatment goes to the courts


Talking about drugs, Part One

  1. Did Harper tell Ford, “One day you’ll be Prime Minister.” What exactly did they do on these “fishing trips”?

    • Lines….(fishing?) lines.

  2. Are NDP arguing that Ford needs access to medicalized opiates and Cons are heartless bastards because they want to keep mayor away from drugs?

    NDP are being heartless and mean towards toronto’s mayor who clearly needs better access to drugs. Surely NDP should be champions of Ford, he is suffering people!

    It is not mayor’s fault he hanging with shady characters, it is due to :PM Harper and his mean colleagues.

    • No, they’re arguing that for a handful of long-term addicts, all the standard treatments (methadone, rapid detox, etc…) don’t work and so it’s easier to treat them with tiny amounts of clinical-grade heroin. Keeps them alive long enough to get them off the smack.

      The Conservatives aren’t heartless. They’re spineless. They won’t listen to their own scientific advisers, and make medical care decisions based on politics because they’re afraid they’ll look “soft on crime’.

      But you already know that.

      • “No, they’re arguing that for a handful of long-term addicts … ”

        Daily Telegraph – The Fix:

        “Each time someone buys a substance, heats it up on a spoon, draws it into a needle and injects it into their vein, they are choosing to do this. No one makes them. It has become modish in academic circles and among the liberal elite to refer to addiction as a “disease” …. By describing addiction as a disease it removes any element of human agency in their behaviour and how this impacts on the trajectory of their lives. It strips us of free will.”

        • And instead on responding to my answer, you quote a single psychiatrist/columnist to counter published science done by experts in addiction and pharmacology.

          Are you sure you’re not a Cabinet Minister?

          • Oh, come on. Who needs science and expertise when you’ve got the “common sense” of imbiciles.

  3. Please ! Please ! Please ! Enough of the Rob Ford crap. Their are more important things going on in Canada today, than to constantly have to put up with this barrage of media coverage about Rob Ford. The media are looking more like paparazzi every day and not serious news reporters.

    • The media haven’t looked like “serious” journalists in this country in a long long time. Look at how Trudeau’s China comments were reported: with denial. Look at how Trudeau’s pot smoking has been reported: barely worth mentioning.

      The media in this country is a joke, with the exception of a few gems like Wells, Coyne, Hebert. The rest are a waste of time.

    • Seriously. You look at the maelstrom surrounding Ford, every day a new level of crazy, and you think “this is the media’s fault.”


    • I’m tired of the 100% Rob Ford news too, but you can’t blame the media. Normally, someone in his situation would step down in embarrassment and the story would be over in 2-3 days. His narcissism, lies, and denial have become an ongoing story, and his daily eruptions ensure that the media will continue to cover him for the foreseeable future. As much as I’d like to hear about other news, Rob Ford is the person keeping himself in the news spotlight. The media are just covering the biggest story of the day, every day.

  4. Ok so what happens when prevention fails, kuz it does a whole lot. Harm reduction, or what we’ve been throwing money at for years with no apparent change other that drugs are cheaper and stronger than they ever where……….i do know what im talking about, ive seen things from the other side, and im right.

    • Okay — so what does happen, and what solution are you proposing? I do not doubt you know what you are talking about, but it’s not clear to me what you are advocating.

      • Not killing a program that actually works, for ideology that has proved itself deeply flawed for the past 50 + years.

  5. I am of the opinion that many governments of the world support global drug cartels through policy. Just as the political parties have learned to manipulate the public through “brand image” so have the cartels. Rodrigo Canales: The deadly genius of drug cartels #TED :

  6. To keep dangerous drugs like heroin out of Canadian communities, our government has taken action to protect the integrity of the special access program and closed that loophole.
    Actually, genius, you’ve done the opposite. By closing their access to medical herion, the addicts are forced to turn to the street pushers. You continue the demand, which increases the likelihood that others will take up the habit as well. Congrats on keeping the pushers gainfully employed.