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Denver City Council Thinks Helping Heroin Addicts Shoot Up Will Stop Them Shooting Up

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.

Colorado is on track for another first: the nation’s first legal heroin shooting gallery. The Denver City Council has voted 12 to 1 (thank you Mr. Flynn for being that 1) to allow a “safe injection site” where heroin and methamphetamine addicts can shoot up in their own cozy private booths. And what makes these killer drugs “safe”? They’re safe because the addicts are within screaming distance of a health professional that will quickly put an antidote in their arms if they start to shake in the first signs of a killer overdose.


The people in favor of government helping addicts feed their addiction call this “saving a life.” Those against it call it insanity. In their usual guise of fake compassion, Democrats and leftist radicals – but I repeat myself – try to sell the sites as “prevention” measures and bleat about how they are helping the poor addicts. After all, addicts have fulltime jobs stealing from friends and relatives and 7-11 stores to finance their drug habit so it’s only kind and neighborly to give them a safe place to shoot up.   

Denver Councilman Albus Brooks dutifully mouthed the requisite virtue-signaling in defending the bill he introduced. “When you view someone simply as an addict, it is easy to stigmatize them and ignore their pain; when you view them as your neighbor, you see their story as connected to yours and feel called to act,” Brooks said. “To do nothing would be a grave injustice. That’s simply not who Denver is.” Ah, the old reliable bromide “that’s not who we are” borrowed from the Saint Obama latter-day catechism. 

Brooks needs to explain to parents who have lost children to heroin just how it’s “neighborly” to supply addicts with the drug that’s killing them. They may not overdose at the “safe site” but the government keeping them dependent on the drug will eventually claim their lives.   

That’s why radical stalwart California Governor Jerry Brown vetoed a similar bill. Even this leftist icon knows there aren’t enough moonbeams in the world for “safe injection sites” to help addicts in the real world. The California site would be located in San Francisco, adding to the city’s tourist attractions: the Golden Gate Bridge, Fisherman’s Wharf, and that map of human excrement so critical to the authentic vacation experience.      


Said Brown in a rare fit of liberal rationality, “enabling illegal and destructive drug use will never work…Fundamentally, I do not believe that enabling illegal drug use in government sponsored injection centers – with no corresponding requirement that the user undergo treatment – will reduce drug addiction,” Brown wrote in his veto statement. There’s no requirement in the Denver law either that addicts get help, whether it be rehab or methadone treatment to wean them from the drugs. Wouldn’t it be neighborlier to give addicts who are shooting poison into their veins a way out instead of giving them a way to do more death-juice? Does Mr. Brooks think junkies are happy being junkies?  

The first “safe injection site” (Insite) was established in 2003 in Vancouver, British Columbia. You’d think there’d be lots of documentation of success in all that time, but there’s little to no evidence that anything positive has been achieved.

In a May, 2017 article in Canada’s National Post, titled “Vancouver’s Drug Strategy has Been a Disaster: be Very Wary of Emulating It,” author Tristan Hopper offers a candid appraisal. He quotes Insite’s website that “supervised injection facilities can help people quit drugs,” but notes the two major studies that Insite references only document an increase in admissions to detoxification. Continues Hopper, “There is no definitive, long-term data showing that Vancouver’s injection drug users are successfully getting clean and kicking drugs because of safe injection.”       


Meanwhile, writes Hopper, “a 2006 British Medical Journal study looked at the years before and after Insite’s opening and found ‘no substantial decrease in the rate of stopping injected drug use’…site staff do not want to alienate patients by counselling or pressuring them to seek treatment.”  Of course not; these sites push drugs, not treatment. 

The “Insite” disaster in Vancouver is likely a grim predictor for Denver. Homelessness is up (from 1,364 homeless in 2005 to 2,138 in 2017). Theft and violent crime have increased from 2002 to 2016 according to the Vancouver Police Department, and even with teams of paramedics more than 100 people died of overdoses in 2017, most of them in the vicinity of the “safe site.”  

A little more future casting: 

-Since street heroin is often laced with other killer drugs like fentanyl, the next step will be for government to supply addicts with FREE “pure” drugs – out of their great love for their “neighbor” of course.

-Vancouver’s Insite center facilitates 700 injections per day. The druggies hanging around for their next fix and the black market dealers have destroyed this urban neighborhood as they will destroy Denver. Homeless camps will be everywhere and government-subsidized cheap apartment towers will go up to house the new move-ins attracted to free heroin.     

-Once the Democrat-dominated Colorado legislature approves a new law somehow “legalizing” heroin and methamphetamines so the “safe site” can open, the new Colorado Democrat Governor Jared Polis will sign it, unlike California Democrat Governor Jerry Brown 


-In 2011, the national average for youth 12 to 17 considered “current” marijuana users was 7.64 percent while Colorado’s average was considerably higher at 10.72.  Logically, we can expect the same increased use when heroin and other drugs are in effect “legalized.” 

-Once heroin and methamphetamines are illegally “legalized” to accommodate the Denver “safe injection site,” look for the same compassionate anything-goes leftists to open more of them  – in the suburbs where drug abuse also takes place. And look for their neighborly mission to expand to supplying addicts with crack cocaine, cocaine,  whatever. 

-Though the Denver City Council insists the site will not be financed by taxpayer money, of course it will. Government grants are taxpayer money. Government drug prevention and awareness committees/offices are financed with taxpayer money. But I could be wrong. America-hating zillionaire George Soros is always eager to pour huge bucks into making America’s electorate dumber. A stupid, stoned population is easier to control -- that’s why his money is always behind the groups initiating marijuana legalization on the ballot, as state by state we lose our American identity. 

Philip Owen is Vancouver’s former “conservative” mayor who was a big Insite fan and apparently still is. Yet he told the National Post in 2014, “you just keep dumping money in, building social housing and filling it up with people from all around the region and the country…they all get chemically dependent, and it’s just more sales for the drug dealers.” https://nationalpost.com/news/vancouvers-gulag-canadas-poorest-neighbourhood-refuses-to-get-better-despite-1m-a-day-in-social-spending


Listen up, Denver City Council.  Repeal this horrific and dangerous decision. Do it now and maybe we’ll believe you’re good neighbors. 

Joy Overbeck is a Colorado journalist, author and Townhall columnist who has also contributed to The Washington Times, The Daily Caller, American Thinker, BarbWire and elsewhere.

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