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Jun 05

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Vancouver Area Network of Drugs Users (VANDU)- Your Tax Dollars At Work!

Blocking traffic on the Cambie St Bridge today...

There’s a march going on right now in Vancouver. Just a few minutes ago VANDU was blocking traffic on the Cambie Street Bridge, carrying a banner saying ‘Homes Not Jails’…

Now, there’s nothing wrong with people demonstrating- but why is it necessary for them to block traffic? The Cambie street bridge is an important artery into the city, blocking it will cause a lot of hassle to many people. Besides the question of legality, this is not a good way for them to get the backing of the public.

Perhaps they don’t care, because they already have a lot of backing from the public! What support is that you say? Well, last year, Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) paid them a whopping $250,437 for their services handing-out materials for ‘Harm Reduction’ programs.

So, it can be said, VCH is a major sponsor behind today’s traffic blocking incident…

Why would VCH contract these people to hand-out drug taking supplies when they are a very short walk down the road from the INSITE clinic? (another major consumer of VCH funding) Not only does it seem wasteful to have parallel services so close to each other (not even Starbucks does this!) but is it not questionable to be giving such large sums of money to an organization of self-confessed drug addicts!

Also, the word is on-the-street that VANDU members get paid cash to go to protest events. I’ve been told that myself by one of their members- on average, he said, they get $20-$25 honorariums for appearing at demonstrations and city meetings. Is this where all of that money from VCH goes? One has to wonder…

And now, it seems, they are trying to branch-out to Abbotsford! I wonder how many 10’s of thousands of dollars they will be asking Fraser Health for? One also has to wonder how many treatment beds this money can be used for.

I’ll be writing more about VANDU in the near future. They’ve been on my list for a while now. If there is any organization that is most helping to keep the status quo in Vacouver’s Downtown East Side, this group is leading the pack.

And that, my friends, is an act of murder…

 

Permanent link to this article: http://www.genuinewitty.com/2012/06/05/vancouver-area-network-of-drugs-users-vandu-your-tax-dollars-at-work/

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  1. RT

    Harm reduction programs in the DTES have reduced mortality and HIV rates. Harm reduction receives 3% of the Anti-Drug Policy funding, while law enforcement gets 70%. Law enforcement as a drug deterrent has failed in Canada, this is why harm reductions programs are becoming more popular. Over the next decades, harm reduction funding will increase dramatically as the public and politicians learn more about the research that is conducted concurrently with these programs. The current funding is not enough. Check out the BC Centre of Excellence in HIV/AIDS website for what one of the leading research centres in the world thinks.

  2. Matt West

    Harm reduction is the only way to face the problems of addiction. Addicts will use despite any consequences you put on them, and dealers will deal despite facing death (I am an ex drug dealer and heroin addict, not once did I worry about a law, I worried about oding, getting shot, becoming homeless. I also used methadone for 3 years to get off heroin and have been clean since)

    If there is anyone out there who does not believe in harm reduction, go talk to addictions experts because its pretty much accepted among 99% of the medical community.

    Just like in life, you can’t eliminate all harms. Believing this you have to be on some pretty major hallucinogens. We can’t all walk around in a plastic bubble. Harm reduction is the only logical solution to the problem at hand.

    1. Greg Renouf

      Anytime someone labels something as the ‘only’ solution, I tend to turn off…

    2. James Booker

      Matt West is right: addicts WILL get high regardless of obstacles, consequences, etc. I’ve been an opiate addict for almost half my life, and KNOW this to be true in a way that non-addicts do not seem to understand. Non-addicts tend to view the opiate relationship as a type of partying, or as a “choice”, or as a bad habit that ‘you just gotta…stop’. A lifetime of heroin addiction is NOT a party, it is a constant pendulum swing between agony and ecstasy – the agony gradually outweighing the ecstasy as time goes by. No word quite captures the opiate addict’s all-consuming urge to fix, but my ‘need’ or ‘yearning’ for heroin has always seemed to me to be a PROFOUNDLY deep need; something primal, calling from the very CORE of the most ancient part of the brain. Heroin is not “trippy”, and it seems to go far beyond mere mood-alteration; it doesn’t seem to be a drug of the MIND, but rather a panacea of the SOUL, healing deeply and completely ALL the cracks, dents, and fissures – all the cumulative psycho-spiritual damage that life has wrought. Perhaps it is like being back in the womb, that amniotic realm free of pain, suffering, anxiety, want, and doubt….heroin withdrawal, therefore, is like being born – ripped from the perfect womb-world and thrust, screaming, into the utter confusion of….life. The addict’s sole objective is to regain this feeling; he or she does not prioritize – there is only The Fix. Folks don’t perform oral sex on perfect strangers just to earn beer money.

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