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Time to try something new to solve drug problem

We have nothing to lose but our ineffective ideology.

Time to try something new to solve drug problem

We have lost the War on Drugs. The present enforcement model has gotten us where we are today: addicts shooting up on the sidewalk, items of value ‘missing’ from yards and garages, overdose deaths, gangsters gun-battling on the streets of Surrey (here next?), and so on. The winners are organized crime and the drug dealers. Should we keep trying the same thing — arrest, jail, arrest, jail, — in the hope of getting a different result?

Or maybe we could try something else. Maybe something radical and shocking. What would happen if we were to give addicts their drugs for free in a supervised setting? Overdose and fentanyl deaths would likely end. Addicts would have no need to steal to fuel their habit. Drug dealers would be out of business, as no one would buy what they can get for free. With the dealers shut down, there would be less supply of street drugs to pull in newcomers. Organized crime would be crippled by the loss of income. And bonus! Addicts could establish positive, trusting relationships with health care professionals, who might help them access mental health care and treatment. Addictions could actually decrease!

In July of this year, the Government of Canada announced a pilot project to explore such a possibility — free drugs for addicts. And it will be provided here, in the Cowichan Valley, along with $2 million funding.

But where to put it? There’s a beautiful unused property of several hectares behind Providence Farm, in Maple Bay. There’s the former Malaspina College. But for this to work anywhere, in my opinion, the drugs have got to be provided free in order to discourage crime, and it has to have support from the community.

We have nothing to lose but our ineffective ideology.

Cynthia Montgomery

Maple Bay

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