After reading Zachary Siegel’s recent article in the Fix, “Fentanyl Replaces Heroin in Vancouver, Users in Danger”, I had some thoughts on our national drug policy’s contribution to this problem.
Fentanyl being sold as heroin is the inevitable result of prohibition. When safer drugs are harder to make and obtain, this gives illicit drug manufacturers incentive to make cheaper, easier to manufacture, more potent and dangerous drugs available. And at higher profits. The problem is prohibition, not the drug. When will our leaders see reason and overturn this insane approach to problematic drug use?
We need comprehensive drug policy reform that includes decriminalization, legalization, regulation, honest drug education and prevention efforts and affordable comprehensive individualized harm reduction treatment for all who need it and want it. The continuum of care should range from public health harm reduction interventions (syringe access, naloxone distribution, opiate substitution medications, supervised injection facilities, condom distribution, etc.), harm reduction psychotherapy/substance use treatment, medical detoxification and intensive out- and in-patient treatment.
Isn’t it past time for a change?