Denver faces the situation that we have a Democrat controlled City Council, Legislature, and very liberal Governor. What that means is that whatever wacko idea someone comes up with has a fair chance of becoming law.
Over the last few years, there has been a proposal for “safe (or supervised) injection sites” or SIS where addicts could inject themselves in a ‘supervised’ way. Benefits were to include promoting sanitary injection methods, availability to sterile needles, access to treatment programs, and a reduction in overdoses. It was yet another of those ‘if it saves one life, we must do it’ (on our nickel) that Democrats are so fond of.
Proponents pointed to photos like this of how these sites work:
Nice, huh? A USB port for charging your laptop and you’re all set. We’ll come back to this photo in a moment.
Republicans have been successful at staving off this attempt but now that Democrats have full control, the Denver City Council voted 12-1 in favor of creating such a facility. Mayor Michael Hancock and Governor Jared Polis both expressed early support.
Where was this facility supposed to be located? Well directly across from the State Capitol! Why? Because that’s were the addicts hang out. The only thing I can think to say is “WTF?” Yes, really, that was the plan.
Is this kind of site legal in the United States? No it is not and the Trump Administration has made this clear.
So what happened. Two radio celebrities from 5,000 watt KNUS-AM, Peter Boyles and Steffan Tubbs, took it upon themselves to stop this inevitable disaster. They actually traveled to Vancouver to see for themselves what a “Supervised Injection Site” really looked like.
The night picture is blurry since they were in their car. They had one of those nondescript rental cars that looked like it might be a police car which drew a lot of attention particularly from the dealers as they slowed down to try to take a picture. You will notice that this is not the idyllic setting from the first photo!
Here is the presentation they made at the Colorado State Capitol:
As a result of their efforts, the bill will not be introduced in the Colorado Legislature — for now.
The good thing is now we can get on with the Colorado Republican proposed solution which would be . . . wait . . . I’ll find it . . . give me another minute . . . Well, dang, there doesn’t seem to be one.
I’m all for not doing something if that’s the right answer but I find it hard to have a war on opioid addiction at the national level that results in doing nothing at the local level.
The best statement of conservative policy I can find comes from Peter Boyles and Steffan Tubbs at KNUS:
Furthermore, we believe…
• …drug use is a matter of personal choice.
• …there are adequate community resources to help those who seek
help for addiction.
• …these types of facilities are a threat to public safety and infringe on
the rights of those who want nothing to do with illegal drugs.
I believe we, as conservatives, must do much, much, much better.
As I wrote about in The Front Lines of the Opioid Crisis, there is strong evidence that opiods literally change the structure of the brain and are no longer a “matter of personal choice.” Once again, we need to use Rush Limbaugh’s addiction is a learning moment for us that people will not seek out help for their addiction even while being fully aware of the effects it is having on them. This is not a matter of “tough love” but rather realizing that their brains have been modified. I don’t think it is a stretch to say they are mentally ill.
I actually do believe there are a considerable number of non-profits as well as other facilities that are spending their days trying to help people who are addicted and trying to identify solutions that work.
And from my personal experience, they hate our guts!
Why? You could say it’s because they’re mostly “liberal.” It’s also because a position that brain damaged people should be responsible for their own actions is really pretty stupid and naive.
What to do? First, we have to do something.
I take it as a given that we need to do what we need, including building the Wall, at the Federal level to reduce the inflow of drugs. At the local and state level, it is also a priority to catch and jail dealers.
What to actually do for the addict is a bit harder but not all that hard. In principle, it’s find out what works and do more of that and less of what doesn’t work. How do you find more of what works? You ask people to tell you and back up their assertions with verifiable data. And then you fund the best of them to do more of what they’re doing and if they don’t perform, you stop doing it!