Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Barbara Kay's Insights Into The Supremes InSite Ruling

The Canadian Supreme Court recently added being a drug addict to its list of human rights. They argued that drug addiction is merely a sickness rather than a moral failing and that drug addicts are sub-human (in that they lack willpower and the ability to make rational choices).

The left offered its usual hearty hear! hear! Facts have triumphed over ideology. In fact, it appears that ideology -- leftist ideology -- was slathered on rather thick in this ruling.

While no-one wishes drug addicts further harm neither do we wish to see their addiction trivialized as a mere illness nor supported in perpetuity by government as a fundamental human right. As for the Supremes pronouncements that InSite "saves lives" (which Barbara Kay challenges), I wonder if a study was done on the criminal harm committed by drug addicts being aided and abetted by InSite -- in which case, shouldn't the motto be "InSite causes harm"?

Barbara Kay offers her insights.
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10 comments:

Jen said...

If the ndp and liberals were the ones to demonstrate their worrisome over the insite clinic as did the conservative gov...Judge Beverly views would be different.

The more we encourage drug addicts to use the facility to detox themselves from the drugs keep the facility open. but having the insite clinic for use of clean needle can increase the use of drugs amongst the public and children.

I suggest that provinces be responsible for their insite clinic paid for by it own citizens and not the fed gov. And let see how fast the public demand closure.

Anon1152 said...

Jen said... "I suggest that provinces be responsible for their insite clinic paid for by it own citizens and not the fed gov. And let see how fast the public demand closure."

How responsible is the federal government? The InSite website says that "The BC Ministry of Health Services provides operational funding for Insite through Vancouver Coastal Health, which operates the facility in conjunction with PHS Community Services Society."

That seems to make sense given the fact that health care is a provincial responsibility... But if there is information about Federal government money being spent on this, I would like to know. This doesn't mean that I'd be against such spending, however. The citizens of a province are also citizens of Canada. So I'm not sure that your distinction between "it's own citizens" and "the federal government" really works.

I for one wonder how much the federal government has spent trying to close the place...

Anon1152 said...

"The Canadian Supreme Court recently added being a drug addict to its list of human rights."
- I'm uncomfortable with language like this. In part it's because I think the language of "rights" gets stretched too far. (And yes, I realize you don't want to stretch it at all in this case). That said, I think it's more accurate to talk about how the human rights of addicts (who are human) are being affected by the Insite project, and by the government's attempts to close it.

Anon1152 said...

You say: "They argued that drug addiction is merely a sickness rather than a moral failing and that drug addicts are sub-human (in that they lack willpower and the ability to make rational choices)."

Hm... "merely a sickness" is misleading. The common cold is merely a sickness. If serious drug addiction is a sickness, it is not "merely" a sickness. Also, I'd like to see something in the ruling itself that says or suggests that they are subhuman. (I have found the ruling here: http://scc.lexum.org/en/2011/2011scc44/2011scc44.html ... but I don't know if I have the time or brainpower to read it all tonight). Having trouble with "willpower" and having trouble "making rational choices" are things that define humanity rather than subhumanity, whatever that is. And no, that doesn't mean that I don't believe in "free will" or moral responsibility.

Anon1152 said...

You say: "While no-one wishes drug addicts further harm neither do we wish to see their addiction trivialized as a mere illness nor supported in perpetuity by government as a fundamental human right."

I don't think those desires are mutually exclusive. Do you rank them in some priority order? If so, I hope the reducing harm principle would be prioritized.

Anon1152 said...

You say: "I wonder if a study was done on the criminal harm committed by drug addicts being aided and abetted by InSite"... I wonder what you mean here by "aided and abetted". A safe injection site helps people... safely inject. It doesn't "aide" other criminal activities. In a system with universal health insurance, the state insures everyone... if someone receives treatment, and later goes on to commit a crime, has OHIP "aided and abetted" them?

To be truly scientific, you'd need a study that compares the rate of "criminal harm committed" by InSite users to rates of criminal harm committed by other addicts.

Your question is an empirical question which in principle has an empirical answer. If the government was so intent on closing the site, they should have considered conducting studies of their own. They've had since 2006.

Hm... Apparently there were some attempts at such studies... An article that responds to Barbara Kay's claims (and others) is available here: http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2011/05/30/thomas-kerr-vancouvers-insite-clinic-has-been-a-resounding-success/.

For example...

Kay says: "In an analysis of The Lancet study commissioned by the Drug Prevention Network of Canada and Real Women of Canada, an international team including three Australian doctors, B.C. drug-prevention expert Colin Mangham and Dr. Robert Dupont, president of the U.S. National Institute of Drug Abuse, allege that The Lancet study’s findings of decreased deaths in the Insite area are not supported by data from the British Columbia Coroner’s office, which indicate that deaths from drug overdoses in the area around Insite not only did not decrease, they in fact increased between 2002-2007 (see graph to the left)."

Kerr says: "A lawyer affiliated with the abstinence advocacy organization recently declared that drug overdose deaths in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside had increased in virtually every year since the facility opened. This claim stands in stark contrast to a recent study published in the prestigious medical journal, The Lancet, which showed that overdose deaths around Insite had declined by 35%.
How could such a discrepancy exist? [...] In citing data from the B.C. Vital Statistics agency, the Drug Prevention Network of Canada representative lumped all drug-related deaths together, including many causes of death that bear no relevance to Insite, including suicides and alcohol-related deaths. Conversely, The Lancet study systematically reviewed each recorded death and excluded those that did not apply."

Anonymous said...

Write a post on this:

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Canada-Says-No-to-a-5-Million-Dollar-Office-of-Religious-Freedom/183121928430179

RkBall said...

Anon1152: Yes, the language used was a stretch. But, when the Supreme Court rules that the law of the land against use of narcotics is null and void because addicts need a clean fix, they are in effect declaring the right to be a drug addict.

If that is the case, shouldn't the government also act as their supplier?

RkBall said...

The sub-human comment was mine, not theirs. It flows from the logic of their argument. In fact, the left, and liberals, have whole swaths of people groups who they hold as less less capable, and culpable than whites/westerners.

RkBall said...

"One reason the US has a drug culture is because drug use is joked about on late-night TV."

Anon 1152: When religion is joked about on TV, it is usually in the ridicule sense. When drugs are joked about, what I really meant was there is assumption that there's a lot of Hollywood drug taking going on and it's wink-wink not such a bad thing really.

So, religion is joked at in a dismissive sense, and drug-taking in a permissive sense.

"... nothing intellectually compelling or challenging.. bald assertions coupled to superstition... woefully pathetic"