Study finds no link between crime and free heroin

By chillinwill · Feb 20, 2009 · ·
  1. chillinwill
    MONTREAL -- Giving heroin to hardcore drug addicts at a Montreal clinic did not sully the surrounding neighbourhood with undesirables, used syringes, graffiti, drug trafficking or petty crime, a study suggests.

    Research by Serge Brochu of the University of Montreal's School of Criminology on the impact of a pilot drug-treatment program on area residents and merchants found no link between medical heroin and crime.

    The preliminary results of a groundbreaking study conducted in Vancouver called NAOMI ( North American Opiate Medication Initiative ) had already found that giving "untreatable" addicts their daily fix helped stabilize their lives and improve their health.

    But until now no one had looked at the effect of such a project on a community, Brochu said.

    "There's always this 'Not in my backyard' attitude," Brochu said. "It's good for the patient but if it's not good for the community then we have a problem. They're coming for treatment three times a day. What will they do, hang out on the stairwell?"

    But fears the Montreal clinic would bring violence, loitering, trash and crime to its hip neighbourhood were unfounded, Brochu said. A simultaneous study of surroundings of the NAOMI clinic in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside also found no rise in crime.

    Brochu's team fanned out over a three-block radius of the Montreal clinic, making more than 180 visits to nearby streets, alleyways, parks and parking lots.

    Researchers also had access to police crime data from 2002 to 2008, and they interviewed 40 area residents, homeless people, merchants, social workers and security guards.

    Given the beneficial impact on drug-users' health and no negative impact on the urban area, Brochu said, "This program should live and the government should continue to fund it."

    The project ended last spring and its 59 patients were given other treatment options, including methadone and detox.

    By Charlie Fidelman
    February 18, 2009
    The Province

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    this is the road that sWIM thinks the governments of the world should

    take when dealing with drugs. Think about it, drugs do not cause crime;

    the lack of money to buy artificially expensive drugs causes crime. If no

    addicts had to rob and steal to feed thier addiction then there would be

    no drug "problem." This is a lot more humane than locking people up for

    getting some enjoyment out of chemicals.
  2. cannabis-sam
    I can hardly say that this is a conclusive study on social problems caused by free heroin as the policy of prohibition which causes all these problems is still in effect and the fact that it was only 59 people on this program. Although it's intresting to hear of the beneficial effects on addicts lives.

    I think prescription heroin will open the door for legalization, governments IMO will soon introduce as it's already being trialed in many developed countries. Once the tradgedies of prohibition are observed other drugs will slowly follow fingers crossed .
  3. doggy_hat
    Personally I don't like this. The government (in pretty much any country) is already massive and powerful enough, I don't think it's the governments business to force people to pay taxes and then use it to give away drugs. If some people feel so strongly about giving out free heroin, then they should be able to start a charity that does this, but this is simply not in the domain of the government's responsibility.

    But it's not all bad, as it does take a step towards more a more reasonable view of drugs and they could've spent this money on many worse things. I just wish that they didn't spend so much money at all.
  4. dr. swim
    If anything this would definitely only reduce crime, since why would you need to steal or kill anything if you can just go and get it at a clinic?

    I bet the underground market for heroin near that clinic is already dead.
  5. cannabis-sam
    I believe prescription drugs are the only way to deal with heroin, effectively, I feel that it should be added to the NHS's responsibility, not the responsibility of charities.
  6. englishkid
    It is the never ending debate. They pretty much prescribe whatever opiates you need nowadays. The methadone thing, look at that. Most people on methadone (swim included) still take extra supplements of other opiates (smack). Prescribing would have to go further. What about swims crack? Still have to commit naughty stuff to fund that shit... Then the tax payer has to nanny us again and be like the rich daddy spending millions on rehabs and treatments, now prescribing. 'But its cheaper than them committing crime' they'll say. But the high moral ground taker will insist they (addicts) change and be better people etc, etc. So, stailmate. What about meth users and speed freaks? Script up them aswell? Weed? Cocaine? Etc, etc.....
    I do agree that there should be more choice as opposed to fucking Methadone and Subutex. Oh and the EVIL Subuxone.
  7. Benniboi
    The problem is mate- when you are so obviously bothered about the way that our taxes are spent- If you factor in how much money goes into the judiciary system, the legal system, policing and even just insurance excesses directly related to prohibition you would realize that legalizing these drugs to treatment-resistant addicts would save so much money in the long term. In government, any policy that is not working would be revised and re-implemented to a legislation that worked. Prohibition has been proven to be unsuccessful for a long time- when will the government man the fuk up!

    Benniboi added 3 Minutes and 5 Seconds later...

    very valid point too mate, it is a neverending fukin minefield! boom
  8. blipblop
    Good point, Benniboi. A reduction of harm and crime through giving away drugs is a much better use for tax dollars than paying cops and judges to take people's freedom and having to pay for prisons and feeding prisoners for years for possession of drugs. And instead of being in and out of jail, unemployable because of criminal records full of drug charges, addicts could eventually get work, pay taxes etc.
  9. dyingtomorrow
    SWIM's guess:

    Once people's lives become totally wrecked, free heroin may not help them IMMEDIATELY cut their life of crime, because they have become completely acustomed to a ghetto life style. It will however allow them to transition out of it, whereas there is no chance of that when they are desperate, sick, and hunted by society.

    For the people teetering on the edge though; the ones living now like SWIM and half the addicts he knows USED to live; who were successful and working (productive on heroin while they could afford it), and got into a huge debt spiral and ultimately a life of crime because of either legal issues, related stress from the illegal lifestyle, and/or high price of street heroin, that is where you are going to see real results.

    Also, it will inevitably stop some (probably significant) amount of crime, because 90% of what heroin addicts steal for is heroin money. It's not going to stop all the crime in a fucking hardcore ghetto though - c'mon lets be realistic. It's nice to see the results of this study, although they are not that shocking.
  10. bananaskin
    The vast majority (percentages vary according to opinion) of many crimes such as many kinds of thefts, burglaries and street crime are caused by addicts seeking to finance their habits.
    Initiatives like this can only be a good thing,
    1)The addicts receive clean equipment,
    2)Clean heroin,
    3)They have no need to commit crime.

    1+2+3 = a positive impact.
  11. blipblop
    Dude, honestly calm down. Taxpayers already pay billions towards cops and courts and prisons, paying a few grand on giving out drugs would be much more cost effective. And why the hell would being able to kill someone who steals be a good idea, it doesn't prevent stealing from happening in the future, it just means more people are out there committing assault or murder. People turn into scumbags when they aren't given a chance to get ahead, stop locking them up and they can work for a wage, pay tax, and help fix society. Junkies who have criminal records full of drugs charges often *can't* get a job so they *have* to steal, legalise and give free drugs and they can get on with their life. Give rehab and get them into jobs. And as for people prostituting themselves for drugs? They're honestly hurting nobody but themselves. Calm down about exterminating people.
  12. Benniboi
    I have to be very careful what I say here as I don't want this message to be removed due to flaming but why post this when you obviously have so little an understanding regarding the bigger picture of this issue- you would rather see them killed eh- Interesting, I wonder if you'd have the same perception of this if your brother was a junkie? I understand how you feel about people who have no input in society and expect free handouts, that's wrong. but a lot of the overall issue is related to prohibition, class distinction, social segregation- I don't think it's simply a question of morality, do u?

    Benniboi added 0 Minutes and 41 Seconds later...

    + read what blipblop has to say- he obviously has a good understanding of this problem!
  13. blipblop
    Good response, Benniboi, I don't think you came anywhere close to flaming or anything, just calming discussing.

    Heh, just read your edit, Benniboi, thanks:p [Btw, *she* has a good understanding:p]
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