Research Position Paper-Collegekid9

Fight With Drugs!

In Vancouver, many are aware of the darkness that tries to hide behind the beauty of the city.  Unfortunately, the use of heroin has become very popular and widely known.  Those who have taken the drug usually become an addict; their body and spirit become consumed by it.  These peoples lives are engulfed by this drug and eventually they will run out of the heroin.  Addicts will resort to doing something drastic/irrational just so they can get their fix.  This has left the city of Vancouver with a high crime rate to deal with. The thing about Vancouver’s problem is that it is actually their solution.  Fight heroin with heroin!

When traditional rehab didn’t work, “Insite” was created as a safe zone to help get rid of the negative effects of those who use and have become addicted to heroin. These clinics are providing clean equipment as well as free heroin to addicts in an effort to remove all the additional problems that come with addiction. Even though doctors know that this will not cure their addiction, they believe that this will help addicts have a healthier life.  Kurt Lock, a research coordinator for SALOME, says that the reason for giving the heroin to a heroin addict is all about stability.  This gives the addicts a way to have a more normal life where they can work on other issues that got them into their horrible lifestyle.  Insite also works to connect those individuals with health care services which can range from primary care to addictions counseling.  This clinic provides hope that through repeated  usage of this program, the drug violence in Vancouver will slowly decrease and the heroin problem with lower.

Vancouver isn’t the only place that has adapted clinics to help addicts.  In Europe they have been successful in reducing crime rates related to drugs through their program.  Also the Danish National Board Of Health has reported that through their treatment, crime rate has reduced, addicts have found permanent homes, and they have reduced the amount of drinking done by addicts.  The clinics are always trying new ways to help ease addicts from the drugs. Some of the treatments have users cut down the amount of heroin that is given as well as replace it with a more legal drug without crime. With everyone that comes in for help there’s always a few that end up leaving and going somewhere else that doesn’t use heroin as a way to beat their addiction.

With the efforts of many communities, similar attempts have been made to benefit heroin addicts.  Methadone Clinics are the most significant ones that have been seen. Methadone is an opioid/narcotic medication. This opioid is used on people that are experiencing withdrawal symptoms such as those addicted to heroin that does not give a high as drastic as heroin, but it reduces the urge to use.  This in return will reduce the effect addicts have on the community and it will benefit an addicts life. Unfortunately, methadone is not as victorious as the free heroin clinics.  Studies have shown that only 54 percent of methadone patients came back for treatments but, 90 percent return for more free heroin.

A key aspect to the eventual success of the program is embedded within the users of the drugs themselves. They are the driving force behind everything, and therefore have the ability to create both success and failure. This being said, the most happiness should be coming from them if a program is truly successful. For if this is true, then certainly something is being done correctly.  With all these programs that are trying to help addicts beat their problem there’s only one key aspect that can actually keep them running. This aspect is the drug user itself.  Each user is their own motivation behind everything that can be applied from the programs. Their happiness could come from the success that they’ve been given. Their sadness could be from them failing.  There is no correct way to help a drug user get over their problem. It is all about this addicts state of mind. CNN had interviewed one of their addicts name Steve who had been using the Insite clinic regularly for multiple years. He said that he had overdosed three times while he was there and that he was happy he was at the clinic when he did. Although Steve is 48 years old, he believes that there is still hope that he can possibly get clean.  Steve states, “’s just, it’s common sense! When you have a problem that’s grown for whatever reason to the epic proportions that it has in this city, it’s time to come up with a really good solution, and this is it.”  With this statement we as readers can safely assume that someone finds this program to be successful and a real solution.

To many, heroin is just a bad drug but to anyone that has tried heroin, it is a leading cause into the downward spiral of addiction resulting in a lot of life problems.  Addiction is not something that the world takes lightly. There is no fast cure and the treatment is not easy.  A person’s brain creates dopamine which is spread from a neurotransmitter to send signals to other nerve cells. This plays a distinct part in the brain’s reward circuit.  The reward circuit plays a big role in the involvement of reinforcing behavior, motor control, and various hormones.  With the continuous use of the drug, the brain will adjust itself to the exceeding amount of dopamine. This in turn will force the brain to make less of it and/or reduce the ability of cells in the reward circuit to respond to it.  With the reduction of the natural high, addicts must use the drug to replace it. Even after someone quits, one small relapse can bring them back to square one because the addiction will always be there.

With the large amount of heroin addicts in Vancouver, you can only imagine what the spread of diseases through unsanitary needles was like. HIV, AIDS, and Hepatitis are just a few of the diseases that come to mind when you think about sharing needles. The Safe needle exchange program is truly a blessing for the people of Vancouver. This program as well as Insite has provided addicts to freely help themselves with sterile injections. Since the opening of these clinics the spread of these diseases has significantly decreased by almost 70% of the people not sharing needles after visiting the clinic. Not only has the rate of HIV and other diseases from spreading, it has also reduce the number of overdoses. Many users have hurt themselves because they inject the drug in a wrong way. Insite provides highly skilled medical practitioners that are always around to help them no matter what happens. There’s been a study done by Vancouver health that had shown that fatal overdoses within a 500 meter radius of the Insite facility had decreased by 35%.  These numbers just prove the success rate that are coming from these clinics.

The crime rate of patients with a heroin addiction, that received the drug for free from the clinics had significantly decreased.  This was noticed during a four year trial in Britain.  In this trial patients were split up into three groups which consisted of oral methadone clinic patients, intravenous methadone clinic patients, and free heroin clinic patients.  In the end the results showed that the three groups all had improved, but the ones that received the free heroin benefited the most.  After about a half a year, three-quarters of the group had stopped taking street heroin. The number of crimes that had been committed by those in the group 30 days before the program began, dropped from 1,700 to 547 in the first six months of the trial.

With Vancouver opening up these heroin clinics, they are providing a safe haven for addicts to have another chance at a normal life and to finally part of society again. These programs are helping to tighten the rains and control addiction and give a sense of security for all drug users. For many Insite is their last bit of hope for asked to take control of their own lives and to be the one to save themselves on the downward spiral that heroin brings them. We can see the drug related crimes and the spread of diseases has decreased which in return is making their city safe again. Although it may sound crazy fighting her one with heroin is actually helping. In time we will find a permanent cure but for an out what we are doing is working.


London, Gaëlle Faure /. “Why Doctors Are Giving Heroin to Heroin Addicts.” Time. Time Inc., 28 Sept. 2009. Web. 11 Dec. 2016.
Vince Beiser / Miller-McCune Magazine. “Vancouver’s Radical Approach to Drugs: Let Junkies Be Junkies.” Alternet. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Dec. 2016. “Understanding Drug Use and Addiction.” DrugFacts: Understanding Drug Use and Addiction | National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Dec. 2016.
CNN. Cable News Network, n.d. Web. 11 Dec. 2016.
Heroin Clinics Improve Addicts’ Lives.” N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Dec. 2016.
Hiebert, Paul. “The Only Place Where They’ll Inject You With Heroin for Free.” Pacific Standard. N.p., 31 May 2016. Web. 11 Dec. 2016.
Mulvenna, Alexis. “Supervised Injection Sites and Vancouver’s ‘Insite’ Experiment.” The Public Policy & Governance Review. N.p., 09 Feb. 2015. Web. 11 Dec. 2016.

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