In a startling new move that is touted as an effort to fight the transmission of disease, vending machines that carry crack pipes are now being introduced to the streets of Vancouver. The choice to put these machines in place is being driven by a nonprofit organization which claims that crack users sharing paraphernalia is behind the spread of numerous diseases. While it may be true that this behavior does spread disease, should we really be giving up on helping these individuals overcome their addiction and helping them use crack more effectively?
Is This How We Should Address The Crack Epidemic?
The reality of the choice to put crack pipe vending machines on the street is that it will just make drug abuse easier and more accepted. Those who use crack are being sent the message that it is something society accepts. This obviously isn't what's best for them, and will result in more drug addicts in the long run. Instead, we need to take steps to help guide these individuals towards a better path. This process should start with mental health care. Many individuals who develop drug problems are struggling with underlying mental health issues that must be addressed if they are to return to being responsible and productive members of society. Giving these people access to the help they need will make a far more lasting and widespread impact than providing easy access to crack pipes.
Fighting The Spread Of Disease The Right Way
Instead of simply trying to mitigate the issues with disease that drug abuse causes, we should be focusing on addressing the substance abuse itself. There are thousands of addicts who could recover with the right treatment, but find themselves stuck in a cycle of abuse due to a lack of resources. Instead of giving these individuals easy access to the tools they need to continue their drug abuse, we should try to give them real help. If treatment programs were expanded, it might be possible to help people using crack overcome their addiction and become assets to society. It is this potential for long-term improvement that the movement to give easy access to crack pipes ignores. We simply shouldn't be giving up on these people.
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