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StarOceanHouse
19-10-2007, 02:48
SAN FRANCISCO - City health officials took steps Thursday toward opening the nation's first legal safe-injection room, where addicts could shoot up heroin, cocaine and other drugs under the supervision of nurses.

Hoping to reduce San Francisco's high rate of fatal drug overdoses, the public health department co-sponsored a symposium on the only such facility in North America, a 4-year-old Vancouver site where an estimated 700 intravenous users a day self-administer narcotics under the supervision of nurses.

"Having the conversation today will help us figure out whether this is a way to reduce the harms and improve the health of our community," said Grant Colfax, director of HIV prevention for the San Francisco Department of Public Health.

Organizers of the daylong forum, which also included a coalition of nonprofit health and social-service groups, acknowledge that it could take years to get an injection facility up and running. Along with legal hurdles at the state and federal level, such an effort would be almost sure to face political opposition.

Bertha Madras, deputy director of demand reduction for the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, called San Francisco's consideration of such a facility "disconcerting" and "poor public policy."

"The underlying philosophy is, 'We accept drug addiction, we accept the state of affairs as acceptable,'" Madras said. "This is a form of giving up."

Sixty-five similar facilities exist in 27 cities in eight countries, but no other U.S. cities have considered creating one, according to Hilary McQuie, Western director for the Harm Reduction Coalition, a nonprofit that promotes alternative drug treatment methods.

"If it happens anywhere in the U.S., it will most likely start in San Francisco," McQuie said. "It really just depends on if there is a political will here. How long it takes for that political will to develop is the main factor."

Drug overdoses represented about one of every seven emergency calls handled by city paramedics between July 2006 and July 2007, according to San Francisco Fire Department Capt. Niels Tangherlini. At the same time, the number of deaths linked to overdoses has declined from a high of about 160 in 1995 to 40 in 2004, he said.

Colfax estimated that there are between 11,000 and 15,000 intravenous drug users in San Francisco, most of them homeless men. Like many large U.S. cities, the city operates a clean-needle exchange program to reduce HIV and hepatitis C infections.

Advocates plan to work on building community support for a safe-injection center, including backing from Mayor Gavin Newsom and the Board of Supervisors.

In Switzerland, Spain and other European countries with such programs, the sites have been placed in existing public health clinics and created as stand-alone facilities, said Andrew Reynolds, a program coordinator with San Francisco's city-run sexually transmitted diseases clinic.

Possible options for opening one in the city include homeless shelters, AIDS clinics or drug treatment centers, he said.

"They aren't these hedonistic dens of iniquity," Reynolds said. "There is no buying or selling of drugs on the premises. Staff do not assist in injections."

While it's too early to tell what the room in San Francisco would look like, Vancouver's InSite program is located on the upper floor of a low-rise building in a downtown neighborhood where drug users shoot up in the open.

The site, exempt from federal drug laws so users can visit without fear of arrest, has 12 private booths where addicts inject drugs such as heroin, cocaine or crystal. They can use equipment and techniques provided by the staff, and then relax with a cup of coffee or get medical attention in the "chill out" room where they are observed, said program coordinator Sarah Evans.

"It looks kind of like a hair salon," Evans said of the bustling space. "If we were a restaurant, we would be making a profit."

While 800 overdoses have occurred on the premises, none of them resulted in death because of the medical supervision provided at InSite, said Thomas Kerr, a University of British Columbia researcher who has extensively studied the program. His research also has shown an increase in addicts seeking drug treatment and a decrease in abandoned syringes, needle-sharing, drug-related crime and other problems since the clinic opened, he said.

The results indicate the idea is worth replicating, despite the criticism it may attract, Kerr said.

"I prefer the approach of the Vancouver Police Department, which was: 'We don't like the idea of this, but let's look at the evidence and at the end of three years we will tell you either this is something we can support or it's something we can't support,'" he said.

Temple University law professor Scott Burris told the audience at Thursday's forum that a supervised injection room would seem to run afoul of federal drug possession laws and a state statute that makes it illegal to operate a crack house or any place where drugs are used, but only if the police and federal agents enforce them.

He cited as an example California's medical marijuana law, which has allowed pot dispensaries to flourish but at the risk of being raided by federal authorities.

"The law isn't a barrier," Burris said. "The issue of whether it's legal doesn't come up until somebody is arrested."


http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20071019/ap_on_re_us/supervised_injections

kush86
19-10-2007, 04:19
finally, maybe the US will pull it's head out of it's ass and realize that by denying user's programs/services like this, they are exacerbating the crime, OD, HIV/AIDS, Hep C, etc. Hopefully the people behind this succeed and set an example for the rest of the country that having a program like this WILL NOT increase crime, draw drug-users to their community (they are already there....duh).

Although when you consider that some areas of the US do not even allow, or are extremely stringent w/ methadone clinics, which have been around since god knows when, the future of this article seems rather grim, although I do have to give props to the city of San Fran for their liberal views on most things.

Mariposa
19-10-2007, 17:07
I'm actually against this. It IS poor public policy and enables addicts to continue being addicts rather than assist them in getting off the drugs. If one chooses to use drugs intravenously, it is best that they have access to clean equipment. Our needle exchange and other community resources see to that very well.

There is no real comparison between this and medical marijuana dispensaries. Medical use of marijuana is well-established, researched, and I don't recall any recent cases of HIV/hepatitis/whatever transmission from sharing a bowl.

Real estate is at too much of a premium here to use it this way. I can think of much better ways to spend SF's tax dollars - beginning with expanding our bus/light rail system and enforcing fare payment so that ALL citizens of SF can travel throughout the city without getting threatened with our bags being jacked.

The reality of living here is not as utopian as people like to believe.

phr
19-10-2007, 19:04
I'm actually against this. It IS poor public policy and enables addicts to continue being addicts rather than assist them in getting off the drugs. If one chooses to use drugs intravenously, it is best that they have access to clean equipment. Our needle exchange and other community resources see to that very well.

Actually, getting them off drugs is part of the agenda. It allows addicts to come in contact with treatment service personnel. Many do not know what is available. It's the same as with needle exchanges.



Real estate is at too much of a premium here to use it this way. I can think of much better ways to spend SF's tax dollars - beginning with expanding our bus/light rail system and enforcing fare payment so that ALL citizens of SF can travel throughout the city without getting threatened with our bags being jacked.


Fuck the real estate value. It's one location, and it saves lives.


Oh, and they also spread harm reduction.

ChemicalSmiles
19-10-2007, 19:59
Read about this in the news paper :D

SKL
19-10-2007, 20:02
This is a fantastic idea. I'm stoked that this is taking place in the U.S. of A.

bingalpaws
20-10-2007, 01:06
"The underlying philosophy is, 'We accept drug addiction, we accept the state of affairs as acceptable,'" Madras said. "This is a form of giving up."
wow, talk about zero grasp on the situation. I'm sorry, but you HAVE to accept drug addiction, history's kind of proved it's been here, is here, and always will be here. Now madras, I want you to think of that real long and hard, and then you'll have an idea about why your drug war will never, and can never, be victorious.

SKL
20-10-2007, 02:49
I wonder if they're taking job applications. I would literally move across country for that, feel like I could really make a difference in that sort of setting and am god damn tired of the east coast.

Mariposa
20-10-2007, 04:18
phrozen, while I am deeply committed to harm reduction, I still feel it's a misallocation of tax dollars.

Someone on another board (www.sfgate.com) made the comment that we in SF are going to give IV drug users a safe place to shoot up, but 25 minutes away in Belmont, a resident cannot even light up a cigarette in his/her own condominium.

Before you buy that airline ticket, realize that SF has the highest (by way of percentage of population) rate of homelessness and drug addiction. I live and work in a relatively high-income neighborhood, and every day when I walk to and from work no fewer than 5 homeless people, some quite aggressively, approach me for money. Although I have compassion for them and their plight, I believe in "teaching a man to fish". I can count the times I have given panhandlers money on one hand. However, I often give homeless (oops, I meant "residentially challenged") persons my leftovers when I take them home from a restaurant. I know my fortune could change in an instant. The point is driven home every day.

It breaks my heart a little bit every time I walk down Market Street. This isn't going to solve anything. I don't agree with Madras, but I'm not about to throw my support behind a solution that is little more than a Band-Aid. I believe there are ways to educate IV drug users that do not involve enabling them. I have never done IV drugs in my life - does this make me unsympathetic?

Get the homeless into programs that are PROVEN to work. "Care, Not Cash" has turned into a fucking joke. Education and assimilating the IV drug using population into the workforce will save more lives than this initiative. THAT, to me is "harm reduction" - not enabling.

I therefore support an initiative in which the needle exchange program was expanded and efforts at education and medical care were given more funding. Hire the registered nurses there. Publicize it more. But don't give a drug user a private booth in which he/she may use. Give them education on "safer" using and give the rest of the funding to our infrastructure and schools. I hear we're pretty much due for an earthquake too...

kush86
20-10-2007, 04:31
props StarOceanHouse...beat my lazy ass to it. lol

phr
20-10-2007, 05:24
It's not enabling drug use anymore than needle exchanges. It is providing a safe place to do something very risky that will get done either way. It is saving lives, I don't see how anyone could be against that. Sure, treatment and abstinence will reduce more harm, but not everyone will buy into that. People are going to use IV drugs no matter what, why not help these people out?

Let's say that all drugs would be legal, as they should be, would you be against injection rooms then?

chicpoena
20-10-2007, 05:24
I'm actually against this. It IS poor public policy and enables addicts to continue being addicts rather than assist them in getting off the drugs. If one chooses to use drugs intravenously, it is best that they have access to clean equipment. Our needle exchange and other community resources see to that very well.

Having medical personnel present when people shoot up saves lives. The article says that they saved 800 lives. Fuck land values. I'm rather surprised that a BL moderator is more concerned with money and the real estate market than saving peoples lives. This is life or death. People aren't less human because they're addicts. These are fucking human beings we're talking about.

Bottom line: people aren't going to stop shooting up. They're going to keep ODing. Having a place where they can safely shoot up increases rates of admission into treatment and cessation of use. It's almost a paradoxical effect. I wrote a paper on this for my community psychology class and in Germany heroin addicts who go to these places often stop using because they find out about methadone and bupe. They find out what the cuts are doing to their body. They receive medical treatment. Crime rates drop. The data is clear: the safe shooting parlors help people quit and reduces deaths from ODs and improves the health of people who are addicted.

Are your tax dollars REALLY worth more going into a railway system instead of a program that will save hundreds of people's lives? How much is a human life worth to you? By labeling someone an addict you can dehumanize them. We're talking about people who are addicted. They have a medical problem and are physically dependent on a drug.

I believe that human life is priceless and that it shouldn't be an issue to spend money on saving people's lives. How much is a human life worth to you Mariposa? How much of your tax dollars would it be ok to spend to save someone from an overdose? None?

I've got to say that I'm quite shocked at your cold and callous view on this issue. Especially for someone volunteering her time at a harm reduction website.

You should read the article by Benedickt Fischer titled Drugs, Communities and "Harm Reduction" in Germany: The New Relevance of "Public Health" Principles in Local Responses. Journal of Public Health Policy, Vol. 16, No. 4. (1995), pp. 389-411.

It will probably change your mind when you see how much money is saved through reduced deaths, ambulance calls, hospital visits, etc. For me, saving lives is enough but maybe seeing how much money is saved will change your mind as well.

garuda
20-10-2007, 05:51
Let's say that all drugs would be legal, as they should be, would you be against injection rooms then?

Government run yes, private sector or charity supported no.
I just don't see why its the responsibility of government to provide places to use recreational drugs.

This schizophrenic approach troubles me, either drugs are illegal or not. We're getting into drugs are illegal, unless you're an "addict" then they're not. Thats ridiculous, if we've come so far as to provide needles and shooting galleries can we just legalize already?

technoHarmony
20-10-2007, 15:21
weve had one here in sydney for a while now and its been a real success
its cleaned the streets up a lot and saved heaps of people from overdosing

http://www.bluelight.ru/vb/showthread.php?t=245464

theres some discussion about it here if you want more information..

bingalpaws
20-10-2007, 16:32
Having medical personnel present when people shoot up saves lives. The article says that they saved 800 lives. Fuck land values. I'm rather surprised that a BL moderator is more concerned with money and the real estate market than saving peoples lives. This is life or death. People aren't less human because they're addicts. These are fucking human beings we're talking about.

if that's what you took away from those 2 posts you should re-read them because, as much as you seem to want to make this a cash v life issue, that's not what the moderator's point was. Real estate was mentioned but it's quite clear there's another major reason if you go back and re-read.

phr
20-10-2007, 17:34
I just don't see why its the responsibility of government to provide places to use recreational drugs.

I agree with you, it should be up to the private sector. Maybe the city should just pass the law and allow non-profits to run these things.

Khadijah
20-10-2007, 20:14
^^^Dingdingding!!!! I agree w/that completely. everybody knows that the government aint gonna know the best way to handle that shit anyways. Leave it to the peopel with experneice, people get their safetly, the taxes dont go to it, everybodys happy.

BlueEclipse
21-10-2007, 04:38
man i can see cops just sitting around watching people go in and out of that place. amd busting them when there off the property. i would much rather hide in my house and IV than be around a bunch of stange people. but its whatever i dont live in SF i dont know how it is there.

jorder1010
21-10-2007, 07:45
the gov't should just make pure heroin and coke to sell to the addicts. it would be a lot safer 8)

a move like this shows that a) the govt knows its policy of arresting addicts is shitty b) there are things the gov't can do to decrease the problems related to hard drug use (by regulating the usage, giving free syringes).

what better way to regulate the problems of hard drugs than to make them legal and have places for addicts to shoot up?

personally, i hate the idea of hard drugs being legal like that (and i dont think the gov't like it either). sure, it will save lives, but it is also not good for society to have rampant hard drug use. this is one step closer to this and its not good.

birdie
21-10-2007, 10:32
the gov't should just make pure heroin and coke to sell to the addicts. it would be a lot safer 8)

a move like this shows that a) the govt knows its policy of arresting addicts is shitty b) there are things the gov't can do to decrease the problems related to hard drug use (by regulating the usage, giving free syringes).

what better way to regulate the problems of hard drugs than to make them legal and have places for addicts to shoot up?

personally, i hate the idea of hard drugs being legal like that (and i dont think the gov't like it either). sure, it will save lives, but it is also not good for society to have rampant hard drug use. this is one step closer to this and its not good.
Why is "hard" drug use bad for society? Most of the problems related to "hards" drugs are worsened by prohibition, and some are even caused by it. If "hard" drugs were legal, those problems associated with them would start to shrink, some disappearing. Anyway, why are so-called "soft" drugs, like cannabis for example, okay, but not "hard" drug like heroin? Last I checked, heroin wasn't any more physically or mentally damaging than cannabis. Yet many people will fight hard for cannabis legalization, claiming (rightfully so) that the government and the media spread lies and propaganda about it, but when it comes to "hard" drugs like heroin, they believe the same crap their fighting against. You say that the thought that "hard" drugs may one day be legal is not good for society, but what's not good for society is prohibition.

Sorry for going of on a little rant, but I just get tired of saying that one drug is okay to use, usually because they use said drug, and should be legalized, but drugs they don't like are evil and should be illegal. Not saying that's what jorder1010 necessarily said, but I just felt like venting.

As for what this thread is about, I agree with phrozen when he said that the city should allow non-profit organizations to run these safe injection sites. I don't want the government running these sorts of things, but I do think we need them.

bingalpaws
21-10-2007, 16:32
the gov't should just make pure heroin and coke to sell to the addicts. it would be a lot safer 8)

a move like this shows that a) the govt knows its policy of arresting addicts is shitty b) there are things the gov't can do to decrease the problems related to hard drug use (by regulating the usage, giving free syringes).

what better way to regulate the problems of hard drugs than to make them legal and have places for addicts to shoot up?

personally, i hate the idea of hard drugs being legal like that (and i dont think the gov't like it either). sure, it will save lives, but it is also not good for society to have rampant hard drug use. this is one step closer to this and its not good.
Clearly making/selling the stuff legally would be a much better situation, but s you said in your second paragraph, they'd have to know their policy of arresting addicts is shitty - that won't happen. Even in this article a woman said:
"The underlying philosophy is, 'We accept drug addiction, we accept the state of affairs as acceptable,'" Madras said. "This is a form of giving up."


Also I should point out that the laws on pot don't really stop people from smoking it, and the laws on harder, more addictive drugs like crack/heroin are almost completely ignored. I don't think you're gonna see a bunch of pot heads shooting up heroin just because it became legal - most people don't really care about the laws on drugs (well, don't get me wrong, they care as in they'd prefer for their activities to be legal, but I think most people would be hard pressed to recall a scenario where someone declined to get high/trip/roll/etc with their friends because of the law..)

bingalpaws
21-10-2007, 16:38
Why is "hard" drug use bad for society? Most of the problems related to "hards" drugs are worsened by prohibition, and some are even caused by it. If "hard" drugs were legal, those problems associated with them would start to shrink, some disappearing. Anyway, why are so-called "soft" drugs, like cannabis for example, okay, but not "hard" drug like heroin? Last I checked, heroin wasn't any more physically or mentally damaging than cannabis. Yet many people will fight hard for cannabis legalization, claiming (rightfully so) that the government and the media spread lies and propaganda about it, but when it comes to "hard" drugs like heroin, they believe the same crap their fighting against. You say that the thought that "hard" drugs may one day be legal is not good for society, but what's not good for society is prohibition.

Sorry for going of on a little rant, but I just get tired of saying that one drug is okay to use, usually because they use said drug, and should be legalized, but drugs they don't like are evil and should be illegal. Not saying that's what jorder1010 necessarily said, but I just felt like venting.


your bolded sentence applies to all illegal drugs, not just hard ones.

I'm seconding that, I get pretty annoyed seeing people think pot's all good and should be legal while heroin or coke should not be. The bottom line is that there's people who can't handle heroin / coke responsibly, but it's naive to think there aren't people who can smoke pot / drink booze irresponsibly. The laws should seek to punish people who do irresponsible things while on drugs (stealing/fighting/driving/rape/etc), not punish people who use responsibly. I've said it before and I'll say it again - punishing a responsible adult for engaging in their chosen behavior w/o bothering anyone, a 'victimless crime' so to speak, is legislating morality. If you want to huff paint, drink a handle of vodka, or shoot up speedballs all night, I do not care. If you crash your car into someone or break into my house, or are being *intoxicated* and disorderly in public, that's another thing. But the only reason anyone can be mad you're doing drugs by yourself in your own house would be that they disagree with the choice. We know this because nobody gives a shit if you smoke 2 packs of marlboros and drink a handle of vodka every night, but if you swapped pot for the marbs and crack for the vodka, suddenly you're looking at pretty hefty time.

chicpoena
22-10-2007, 05:30
I'm sorry for going off on you Mariposa. This is an issue that I feel very strongly about. When I originally posted that I didn't realize that you weren't against safe injection sites, you were just against the government funding them.

I wrote that post under the misassumption that you didn't want any safe injection sites. I agree that it would probably be a lot better if it was privately funded. But in America today, the only way a thing like this would work would be if it was affiliated with the government in some way. There are laws against "drug houses," places where people get high. If it was a government entity they wouldn't prosecute themselves, but they'd still have to worry about the state and federal government busting them.

It really upsets me that current drug policy is based solely on dogma and lies. Decades of social research has shown over and over again that criminalization of drugs spawns evils far worse than the original issue of drug use itself. Drug use and addiction is a public health problem, not a criminal problem. If all drugs were legalized we could have an open dialogue on how to best prevent addiction and help addicts quit. In Hamburg, Germany, heroin is legally provided to addicts by the government. This was done in safe-injection clinics. The crime rate dropped precipitously, I think around 80%. Then many of the addicts ended up quitting. That's why I think safe-injection sites are good: because they're proven to work and addicts end up voluntarily quitting.

birdie
22-10-2007, 07:34
your bolded sentence applies to all illegal drugs, not just hard ones.

Oh, definitely. The reason I only mentioned hard drugs is because the poster I replied to singled them out.

haribo1
23-10-2007, 02:59
Finally! I mean, yes you want people to stop using opiates, but do you let them die before they make their own mind up to stop? The Canadians have had this for some time and it's all over Europe. If you go then your at least in contact with people who can help. In the meantime, clean needles so no nasty viruses and if you OD then they slap you full of nalorphine. I think last year the Canadian ones had 52 overdoses but not a single death...

robatussin
23-10-2007, 06:10
we need places like this everywhere for people like jasoncrest, i am once removed from him if you know what i mean.

Mariposa
23-10-2007, 12:08
Are your tax dollars REALLY worth more going into a railway system instead of a program that will save hundreds of people's lives? How much is a human life worth to you? By labeling someone an addict you can dehumanize them. We're talking about people who are addicted. They have a medical problem and are physically dependent on a drug.

I believe that human life is priceless and that it shouldn't be an issue to spend money on saving people's lives. How much is a human life worth to you Mariposa? How much of your tax dollars would it be ok to spend to save someone from an overdose? None?

I've got to say that I'm quite shocked at your cold and callous view on this issue. Especially for someone volunteering her time at a harm reduction website.

You should read the article by Benedickt Fischer titled Drugs, Communities and "Harm Reduction" in Germany: The New Relevance of "Public Health" Principles in Local Responses. Journal of Public Health Policy, Vol. 16, No. 4. (1995), pp. 389-411.

It will probably change your mind when you see how much money is saved through reduced deaths, ambulance calls, hospital visits, etc. For me, saving lives is enough but maybe seeing how much money is saved will change your mind as well.

Alright. I saw your subsequent post, and there is no reason to apologize to me for stating an opinion that disagrees with mine. You definitely had me pegged wrong on the money issue, though. Would I rather have a valuable, well-intentioned resource than a fancy building? Absofuckinglutely. Would I rather have a building that provides a supportive residence for individuals and families to reside and thrive in a safe environment than use that same building as a place for addicts to have a temporary respite from shooting up in an alley? Who wouldn't?

I'll tell you a little story about my city.

In my city, there is a neighborhood called the Tenderloin. The Tenderloin is home to the majority of IV-drug related activity in my city. The Tenderloin is full of a lot of other things, like really fun restaurants serving inexpensive, excellent food from every place you can imagine. But what it is known for is crime and much, if not most, of this crime is drug-related. Efforts to "clean it up" have proven pretty fucking useless - crime hasn't gone down, people are still going hungry, and needles still line the streets.

See here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Care_Not_Cash

The Tenderloin is where it is proposed such a facility be built. On one hand, this will make it easy for users to gain access to resources that can help them. On another hand, it will make it easier for users to gain access to connections for not only more drugs, but a sanctioned place to use them. Those are not exactly disincentives to using. It is possible to provide IV drug users with safe equipment and education without providing rooms in which to use. Also, we on Bluelight can examine this from a logical perspective based on the premise of harm reduction. Those who do not have the benefit of computers and information who are concentrated on getting their next fix don't have the resources we do.

I place value on ALL life - yes, including drug users' lives. I'm far from removed from the reality that drugs will be used. But I am still not inclined to believe that this is the solution. We have a very good needle exchange program in SF - and I see more benefits to expanding what we already have than to build a facility such as the one suggested. Guess how awesome our needle exchange is? Our needle exchange provides many things - not the least of which is a set of educational seminars for users, prescriptions for Narcan (biggest direct example of a lifesaver of all), treatment of absesses/other IV-related injuries, and the best resource of all - nonjudgmental volunteers and counselors who undergo continuous training in safe injection practices and referrals to resources for help.

Regarding the legalization of all drugs - I have mixed emotions. I don't think simple possession of a personal amount of a drug should be a criminal offense. I do think high-level dealing should be. I'm not sure that legalization would even eliminate the black market. If you want to smoke marijuana legally in California, you're put in a statewide registry. The pot you get costs MORE than street prices, and it's taxed. If someone is scrounging for their next meal, it's unlikely they'll be able to afford to buy dope this way. So the black market will almost assuredly continue - and all the crime that comes with it. As uncomfortable as the thought may be, there are many addicts who engage in robberies, theft, and other acts that harm all of society in order to support their habit. I doubt I'd feel much sympathy for someone who broke into my house and either threatened me, anyone in my home, or my property to get money to buy drugs. Do you have any idea of the cost of living in San Francisco? It sure does hurt to write that rent check every month - we're at about 177% of the national average. 75%+ of us rent, because we can't afford to buy. In California, we pay a ton of state tax in addition to our federal income tax. Seeing 1/3 of your paycheck disappear tends to bring out an interest in where it's going.

I absolutely, unconditionally support the needle exchange program in SF - to the point where I was at one time on a waiting list to volunteer for them, and when they called, I was studying for a big exam and dealing with personal issues so I could not give of my time that way. I'm still busy, but maybe I should make the time. Thanks for reminding me that harm reduction is not just education and personal philosophy - perhaps I can be of better service to the mission if I take a more active role in my own community.

We're having a very big problem (and have had for a long time) with users of IV drugs scoring and using in our very own Golden Gate Park. Why not take these folks off the street and empower them with educational and job resources so that they have something to be proud of rather than providing them with a little temporary room in which to use? That doesn't mean forcing anyone into any programs. It means creating a culture in which personal responsibility (note I did not say sobriety) is rewarded and opportunity is given to those who need it most. And I mean opportunity to work, feed your family and yourself, to educate yourself and your children - not opportunity to go to what will probably not end up being a safe haven to continue a habit with a huge social cost, most of all. If it requires being abstinent from drugs to put a roof over your head, we have to accept that we do not live in a Utopia and that while we can provide resources to help, we should not provide what essentially amounts to incentives to continue using and the desperate behaviors that go along with it for many users.

And I don't have an easy answer for how to do that - the public policy mavens are doing a piss-poor job. See here (http://www.sfweekly.com/2007-10-10/news/the-vice-hotel/full) for an article I read recently that addresses how even attempts to get low or no income San Franciscans safe housing and resources has resulted in such charming things as extortion, loan sharking, prostitution, and drug dealing. It's hard to find a safe place here, because the places that are supposed to be safe havens for people that want to better themselves are located in the neighborhoods that make that all but impossible and run by inept policy mongers on paper and exploitative criminals in practice.

There has to be a happy medium here. I think the closest we'll get is to fund organizations that are proven to save lives (such as the needle exchange) and a more deliberate effort at educating our citizens, not just about how to shoot safely, but how to live consciously and value their own lives through job opportunities, education, child care, and treatment for the medical and social (not legal) problem of IV drug addiction. I never argued for taking addicts off the streets and throwing them into prison. Talk about a way to fuck up someone's chances at a job and an apartment. Give them clean rigs, education, and a plan that gives hope for a viable future. Not a room in which to feed desperation, all sanitized by the presence of nurses and counselors on the inside but which fails to address the ugliness outside. What happens when the user leaves?

I hope this now clarifies both the issues my city is facing and opens a discussion on how we can best address them.

To address one last point (I have rambled enough!) I do want to point out that I know of no study nor any evidence that indicates that the use of marijuana is as deadly or destructive as the use of IV drugs. I make no moral judgments either way. Nonetheless, I have yet to hear of the ambulance being called in response to a marijuana overdose. I don't know of any cases in which someone caught HIV or hepatitis from smoking weed. I don't know of any circumstances in which someone prostituted themselves for weed. All of these problems occur with frequency among IV drug users who lack access to education and clean equipment.

chicpoena - Do you have a link to the study you refer to in your last post? I didn't take anything you posted personally. I don't practice harm reduction through a blanket-tolerance policy for dangerous behavior. I would like to read the study if you will provide me the opportunity to do so.

squerll
23-10-2007, 16:20
Where the want to build that in the Tenderloin is a very mean, nasty and dirty place.
They have never even been able to build public restroom there, good luck trying to build a clean place to shoot dope. Some people a beyond help and the Tenderloin is full of them.
Might be a good idea but I donít see it working in that place.

phr
23-10-2007, 17:06
Regarding the legalization of all drugs - I have mixed emotions. I don't think simple possession of a personal amount of a drug should be a criminal offense. I do think high-level dealing should be. I'm not sure that legalization would even eliminate the black market. If you want to smoke marijuana legally in California, you're put in a statewide registry. The pot you get costs MORE than street prices, and it's taxed. If someone is scrounging for their next meal, it's unlikely they'll be able to afford to buy dope this way. So the black market will almost assuredly continue - and all the crime that comes with it. As uncomfortable as the thought may be, there are many addicts who engage in robberies, theft, and other acts that harm all of society in order to support their habit. I doubt I'd feel much sympathy for someone who broke into my house and either threatened me, anyone in my home, or my property to get money to buy drugs. Do you have any idea of the cost of living in San Francisco? It sure does hurt to write that rent check every month - we're at about 177% of the national average. 75%+ of us rent, because we can't afford to buy. In California, we pay a ton of state tax in addition to our federal income tax. Seeing 1/3 of your paycheck disappear tends to bring out an interest in where it's going.

The marijuana policy in CA is no where close to what true legalization would achieve. It is still illegal, on a federal level, to use, you still need a script, and there is no true competition involved with the "legal" marijuana trade. All of those aspects, among others, artificially inflates marijuana's price. A better model, which is also not perfect, would be the one they currently have in Amsterdam. Also, one could see how prohibition affected alcohol's price before and after. In conclusion, the price of marijuana in CA is artificially inflated. It would be dirt cheap if it were truly legalized.

So you're against the injection room even if it was not funded by the gov't?

Mariposa
24-10-2007, 04:40
The marijuana policy in CA is no where close to what true legalization would achieve. It is still illegal, on a federal level, to use, you still need a script, and there is no true competition involved with the "legal" marijuana trade. All of those aspects, among others, artificially inflates marijuana's price. A better model, which is also not perfect, would be the one they currently have in Amsterdam. Also, one could see how prohibition affected alcohol's price before and after. In conclusion, the price of marijuana in CA is artificially inflated. It would be dirt cheap if it were truly legalized.

So you're against the injection room even if it was not funded by the gov't?

All good points, phrozen, although it is important to note that marijuana possession (even without a prescription) is not exactly high on the priority list of the SFPD. This is a really old article, but this is consistent with my understanding:

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2006/09/12/POT.TMP

There's still plenty of street competition - I know my GP wouldn't write me a script for weed, this is probably the case for most San Franciscans. Those who use legally are taxed. I won't get into pricing, but it's cheaper even for those who use legally to buy weed on the street, pre-tax.

By your reasoning with respect to an open market, people will still pay a premium for quality and shit for schwag. People will still be paranoid (and rightfully so) to have their name on a list of individuals who use marijuana for medicinal purposes, as the initiative that allows dispensaries to dispense marijuana to patients remains in contrast with federal law and policy.

I don't think anyone will argue against the fact that Prohibition didn't work. Prohibition was a Constitutional amendment that criminalized the use of alcohol and it was repealed in large part because of the black market that was created. In the case of heroin, cocaine, meth, and anything else one might commonly IV in one of the proposed "shooting centers" exist, at present, solely, in the context of a black market. This is why I am split on the issue of legalization. Legalizing "hard drugs" would eliminate criminal prosecution with respect to simple possession. I certainly don't believe that someone with a baggie of tar for personal use ought to be thrown in jail over it - that's a horrendous waste of tax dollars. But the desperation associated with IV drug addiction and its culture has been demonstrated over and over again to coexist with violent crime.

One can buy whatever music they want. But why do so many websites exist through which one can download music "illegally"? Many of the servers that power them exist because of private funding.

I still don't know anyone who caught HIV/hepatitis/got an abscess from pot use. Alcohol abuse is a huge social problem and is also correlated with crime. Prohibition was a shitty idea and was repealed. Turning recreational drug users into criminals (further ruining their lives) and clogging up our jails/prisons is completely asinine.

In direct answer to your last question, I could not in good conscience support a privately funded shooting center because I strongly and with good reason believe that it would create a larger problem than it would solve, and I believe that a user who wants to use safely can do so utilizing resources already in existence (our needle exchange, by way of example). At least with the needle exchange, users of IV drugs are exchanging dirty needles, etc. for clean equipment. There aren't as many needles on our streets for our pets, our children, or ourselves to be put at risk over. That's great. The factor that criminal activity could reasonably be expected to occur near or around a facility that provides users with a private booth to shoot up in cannot be swept under the guise of "all drugs should be legalized and that would solve everything".

Should we all have a safe haven to indulge in our habit of choice? Is this some divine right that I missed the memo regarding? Should vouchers for hotel rooms be given to sexually active persons along with free condoms?

I think it's a better idea not to sanction vice, but treat any kind of potentially harmful behavior with the most effective thing of all - education.

Lastly, the "Amsterdam model" to which you refer is quickly dying. When I was last in Amsterdam (2001) I observed more than once (in broad daylight) the police using force against people who were dealing hard drugs in the RLD. The smoke shops and smart shops were (pointedly) left alone because (at the time) they did not contribute in any material way toward harm or crime.

We do not live in a Utopian ideal. We live in cities, towns, and other municipalities that are materially harmed by crime. IV drug users are a significant population who perpetuate that crime. Will opening a "safe use" center in the middle of the Tenderloin reduce harm to the majority of citizens who do not use IV drugs? My opinion is a firm NO.

jorder1010
24-10-2007, 07:32
mariposa, you said exactly what i meant to but couldnt find the right words.

i dont want to get off topic because this thread isnt exactly a hard/soft drug debate, but it kind of is in a way, so i will respond to birdie's post(s): ive done a lot of drugs, but the only one i think should be legal is marijuana. why? because there is virtually no one who says "marijuana ruined my life" and truly mean that in every sense. i'm not saying that you hear that all the time from former hard drug users, but it is FAR more frequent than with marijuana smokers.

personally, i dont think our gov't should condone (and thus support) something that has ruined lives. its horrible enough to see an old drunkard just hanging out in the bar for the rest of his life, nevermind watching heroin addicts nod out in some room. at least with bars the drug is legal...its hypocritical to make a substance illegal but have a place so they can commit a crime (yes, shooting up is a crime) with that drug so it can be used 'safely.'

btw, im not trying to bash anyone or any drug at all. im just saying, if you need to build a place for ppl to do drugs 'safely' it kinda means that those drugs should not really be legal. with weed, there is no risk of life threatening diseases, etc. which are the reason for building a place like this in the first place.

birdie
24-10-2007, 09:33
mariposa, you said exactly what i meant to but couldnt find the right words.

i dont want to get off topic because this thread isnt exactly a hard/soft drug debate, but it kind of is in a way, so i will respond to birdie's post(s): ive done a lot of drugs, but the only one i think should be legal is marijuana. why? because there is virtually no one who says "marijuana ruined my life" and truly mean that in every sense. i'm not saying that you hear that all the time from former hard drug users, but it is FAR more frequent than with marijuana smokers.

personally, i dont think our gov't should condone (and thus support) something that has ruined lives. its horrible enough to see an old drunkard just hanging out in the bar for the rest of his life, nevermind watching heroin addicts nod out in some room. at least with bars the drug is legal...its hypocritical to make a substance illegal but have a place so they can commit a crime (yes, shooting up is a crime) with that drug so it can be used 'safely.'

btw, im not trying to bash anyone or any drug at all. im just saying, if you need to build a place for ppl to do drugs 'safely' it kinda means that those drugs should not really be legal. with weed, there is no risk of life threatening diseases, etc. which are the reason for building a place like this in the first place.
The thing is, lots of the problems associated with drugs are a direct result of prohibition. Prohibition and the "war on drugs" creates the things it's supposedly supposed to be fighting against. If drugs like heroin were legal, then you wouldn't need safe injection sites. Legal heroin would be pure, so people would be able to measure a correct dose, not to mention people would be educated on dangerous drug combos and tolerance, therefore ODs would drop substantially. I believe that prohibition hurts heroin more than any other drug. Heroin itself isn't anymore physically or mentally damaging then marijuana.

As for people not meaning that marijuana has ruined there lives, there are plenty people who do believe that. There are also successful heroin users, they are just less likely to be open about their drugs use than someone that uses marijuana because of social stigmas. As bingalpaws pointed out, sure there are people who can't use hard drugs like heroin responsibly, but there are also people who can't use marijuana responsibly.

bingalpaws
24-10-2007, 16:08
I believe that prohibition hurts heroin more than any other drug. Heroin itself isn't anymore physically or mentally damaging then marijuana.


good post, that statement is all I can even take issue with. I'd say heroin, in an average user, is more damaging to the user than pot is to its average user.

However, I'm still for full legalization of it and know that people have, do, and will continue to use it responsibly. Just like alcohol, there will be those who cannot handle themselves/the drug. This is going to happen with all drugs, from the softest of the soft to the hardest of the hard. The bottom line, the main thing at the end of the day, is that it's inherently wrong to tell a responsible adult what they can and cannot do - so long as they're not hurting anyone.


<jorder, I get where you're coming from with the whole 'I tried it myself, but I'd like to make it inaccessible for others since it's a harder one'. You've gotta remember that others have used just like you, and instead of saying that turned around and said 'damn, I just used half a bag and it's about the same as eating like 7 percocets, and I didn't even have to consume the acetaminophen! Sweet!' They use, enjoy it, and then maybe use sometime again. The bottom line though is that if you make it illegal, not only are you going to have the problems of hassling those who want to use responsibly, but you're not even going to achieve your goal of helping those cannot - prohibition/criminalization cannot attempt to help true addicts nearly as much as education/prevention. The former approach of criminalization hurts the responsible users as well as the addicts, whereas the latter helps both - either way, no matter how you handle yourself with the hard stuff, education/prevention benefits you more than criminalization (oh yeah, let's not forget it also helps out society as a whole through reduced drug related crime and saved tax dollars)>

Putingrad
24-10-2007, 16:11
Well, the Vancouver facility has apparently shown results, and there are similar programs in Europe as well that are acknowledged as successful. I think the quote in this article basically stating that while it may go against mine and most others' better sense, it is quite likely that in a few years the evidence will show that this thing is working. If nothing more, it is quite remarkable that a progressive idea such as this is happening in America, even if it is in Frisco.

phr
24-10-2007, 16:40
But the desperation associated with IV drug addiction and its culture has been demonstrated over and over again to coexist with violent crime.

That lifestyle is due to the high cost of the drug, which is due to its illegality. People can function while being addicted to IV drugs just fine. IV heroin is given out legally in several countries. It's given out in Vancouver and it is(was?) given out in Switzerland. Based on those studies, the vast majority of the participants stopped committing crimes, stabilized their doses, gained employment and housing, and eventually started getting off the drug. IV use does not inherently cause desperation and crime; those things are attributed to their legality as crime is used to support the habit.
Of course legalization would not get rid of all crime, as can be seen with alcohol, but it will drastically reduce it.



Should we all have a safe haven to indulge in our habit of choice? Is this some divine right that I missed the memo regarding? Should vouchers for hotel rooms be given to sexually active persons along with free condoms?


No, we are not entitled to gov't assistance to carry out our habits. But, I believe that the gov't has no right to tell me what I can and cannot put in my body. They fucked that part up, they greatly increased the dangers of using these drugs, and they're directly causing the suffering of millions of people due to their drug laws. So, I'm willing to let slide such programs that are funded by the gov't.
How much could this possibly cost? $5million over 5 years? That's nothing compared to the billions that is spent by our gov't on other things that a lot of us don't agree with.
If we're all for cutting unneeded gov't assistance, I think we should prioritize things. An injection room would not be at the top of that list.



In direct answer to your last question, I could not in good conscience support a privately funded shooting center because I strongly and with good reason believe that it would create a larger problem than it would solve, and I believe that a user who wants to use safely can do so utilizing resources already in existence (our needle exchange, by way of example). At least with the needle exchange, users of IV drugs are exchanging dirty needles, etc. for clean equipment. There aren't as many needles on our streets for our pets, our children, or ourselves to be put at risk over. That's great.


The thing is, all the research looking into safe injection rooms shows that it does not cause any extra problems. It actually helps people out, and I'm not just talking about reversing OD's.


The factor that criminal activity could reasonably be expected to occur near or around a facility that provides users with a private booth to shoot up in cannot be swept under the guise of "all drugs should be legalized and that would solve everything".

That's an issue with a lot of things. Methadone clinics get hell for trying to start up in certain neighborhoods. Half-way houses and needle exchanges also receive the same negative attention. But ultimately, they do a lot more good...

Adrenochrome
25-10-2007, 01:16
This wont last a month

diche
25-10-2007, 02:43
of all places eh...

Kkool
25-10-2007, 07:23
I don't think this is a good idea...

I support the notion that free choice should allow anyone who wants to use drugs to do so. The government should have no part in it.

This goes both ways, the government shouldn't help or hurt drug addicts.

SvnLyrBrto
28-10-2007, 19:50
Government run yes, private sector or charity supported no.
I just don't see why its the responsibility of government to provide places to use recreational drugs.

This schizophrenic approach troubles me, either drugs are illegal or not. We're getting into drugs are illegal, unless you're an "addict" then they're not. Thats ridiculous, if we've come so far as to provide needles and shooting galleries can we just legalize already?


^^^^ EXACTLY and thank you.

There's a world of difference between being opposed to drug prohibition on general civil liberties principles, and actually wanting public money spent to support the habit of a self-destructive few, when there are so many places where it is desperately needed for services that support many more.

Mariposa's public transit example is prime. MUNI is a disgrace. There are so many places where it's desperately in need of expansion or improvement it's absurd... ESPECIALLY considering how vital it is to so many of the city's population. I would happily give up every publicly-funded harm reduction program San Francisco has, has ever had, or ever will have; if it meant we could get a transit system equivalent to Tokyo's, or even New York's.

And private organizations WOULD indeed pick up the slack, if... and here's the rub... if the government would stop interfering.

Case in point, there were several years there when I was volunteering for DanceSafe. If you were part of the Bay Area's rave scene between 2000-2004, you probably saw me working a booth about every other weekend. When the government sleazily tacked the provisions of the RAVE act onto the Amber Alert bill, the number of events at which we were allowed to staff a booth dropped like a rock... by at least two thirds almost overnight. There was a general terror that having DanceSafe at your party was a tacit admission that drugs were there, and therefore an instant ticket to federal prison. A few promoters who were our most ardent supporters kept inviting us, but pill testing became strictly verboten. And even that support dwindled to the point that there's hardly a DanceSafe chapter in the SF Bay Area at all anymore.... just a few people left to support the website and literature.

I know this post makes me sound like some kind of screwball right-wing libertarian type. And that makes me feel a little dirty. In most places, my own politics fall somewhere between the Greens and Democrats. But I've seen first hand how government interference hinders instead of helps harm reduction efforts. And at some point people DO have to take responsibility for having their own shit together and using the resources that are available, instead of expecting the government ot mollycoddle them.

And when it comes to public, taxpayer-derived money.... Like Mariposa I pay a LOT of taxes, so I think I have the right to bitch when it's thrown away tilting at windmills like this. I DO support a strong government providing services that DO serve the common good. But... oh god I'm going to reveal myself as a nerd here... as the vulcans say on Star Trek: "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.".

And good public transit benefits many Many MANY more people than a taxpayer-subsidized heroin den.


cya,
john

bingalpaws
29-10-2007, 00:39
Thats ridiculous, if we've come so far as to provide needles and shooting galleries can we just legalize already?
SERIOUSLY!!! If I'm a responsible adult and want to do some heroin after a long work week, I'm a criminal who could end up in a cage for years. If I'm so helplessly irresponsible with my usage I basically get a free pass. What message does that send, go hard or go home!?

phr
29-10-2007, 00:44
And when it comes to public, taxpayer-derived money.... Like Mariposa I pay a LOT of taxes, so I think I have the right to bitch when it's thrown away tilting at windmills like this.

I hope you bitch when your tax money gets used for other things as well...

center
29-10-2007, 21:19
Surprised to see this? Nah.

Only in California... :x

phr
29-10-2007, 21:53
Only in California... :x

This has happened in Canada as well as various countries in Europe. California is just going by the stats, safe-injection rooms save lives and provide people with avenues to seek treatment.

The same thing that people are thinking about this was once thought about needle exchanges. Now they're almost universally approved.

GlassAss420
30-10-2007, 02:20
Hurry the fuck up and make them nationwide in every city that has massive IV drug use.. I've thought about going to canada just to get to use their safe-injection site, well that and the good nuggets.

ColinGibs
30-10-2007, 19:04
man i can see cops just sitting around watching people go in and out of that place. amd busting them when there off the property. i would much rather hide in my house and IV than be around a bunch of stange people. but its whatever i dont live in SF i dont know how it is there.

hahaha man thats exactly what I thought. If you are headed toward one of these places, of course you have either smack, coke, or whatever other illegal drug on you, a cop could just like stand at the door and hand out arrests.. Unless there is just a technicality where you can be safe, but id still me mad sketched out... Prefer my buddies basement haha

phr
30-10-2007, 20:12
^
They don't fuck with people going to the needle exchanges and they're almost guaranteed to be holding.

(At least they don't fuck with them around here.)

robd
02-11-2007, 11:02
we should take what we can get, i dont see why anyone would be against something that will HELP us take the steps to become closer to our personal freedoms that we should have ALREADY finally being granted to us... 'if we've come so far as to provide needles and shooting galleries can we just legalize already?' well taking steps like this will bring us that much closer to eventually getting them to legalize, hopefully

phr
02-11-2007, 23:01
An amendment to a Senate appropriations bill that would bar cities that open safe injection sites from receiving federal education, health, and labor funding was adopted by the Senate last week. The bill is now in conference committee, where drug reform activists are working to kill it.
Sponsored by Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) in apparent reaction to talk about such a facility in San Francisco, the amendment to the Labor-Health and Human Services-Education annual appropriation bill would cut off funding from those departments to any city that opens a safe injection site.

At least 27 cities in eight European countries, as well as Vancouver, Canada, and Sydney, Australia, are operating safe injection sites. They have been shown to reduce needle-sharing and the rate of new HIV and Hep C infections among injection drug users without causing increases in drug use or criminality.

No American locality has so far tried to establish such a facility. But in San Francisco, discussions are underway.

"Drug war extremists in Congress are trying to ban cities from adopting a drug policy reform that no US city has even adopted yet," warned Bill Piper, national affairs director for the Drug Policy Alliance, in an email to supporters in states whose representatives are on the conference committee. "That's how scared they are of the growing drug policy reform movement. And they might win unless you take action today. We're in a major fight and we urgently need your help because at least one of your members of Congress is a key vote."

The measure needs to be nipped in the bud, Piper warned. "If this amendment passes, we can expect members of Congress to try to pass bolder amendments, like denying federal aid to any city that decriminalizes marijuana and cutting off highway funding to any state that enacts alternatives to incarceration for nonviolent drug law offenses," Piper wrote. "Obviously no city will consider such reforms if it means losing all their federal aid. That's why we have to stop this amendment right here, right now. We have to show the drug war extremists that there's no support in Congress for escalating the war on drugs."

Residents of Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, New Jersey, Rhode Island, West Virginia and Wisconsin need to call their senators now, Piper said. "The bill is now in conference. If we don't get this stricken from the final bill, it could be years or decades before this draconian ban is repealed," he predicted.
Link! (http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/508/senate_passes_measure_bar_federal_funds_cities_saf e_inection_sites)


Dayummm, they moved quick on this shit!

bingalpaws
03-11-2007, 15:11
so, if they cut federal aid on said programs, do they reduce the amount of federal taxation that said an offending state pays into that? Seems only fair, if the state wants to do that and the fed doesn't like it, then just remove the whole taxes ->gov-> state again! Of course that wouldn't happen, but it'd make sense!!

Mariposa
06-11-2007, 06:53
I hope you bitch when your tax money gets used for other things as well...

Yes, I bitch about how my tax money is (mis)used all the time. I could sure use the almost 1/3 of my income a lot more than our "interests in Iraq" or "the drug war" could - in the interest of not getting off topic or smoke beginning to come out my ears, I'll stop there.

But as my tax dollars pertain to addressing the problems associated with drug use (illegal or otherwise), I believe they should be allocated to education and outreach; not funding a facility for addicts to continue their maladaptive patterns.

SevenLyrBrto, I came here in 2003; perhaps our paths have crossed and we probably have mutual friends. Drop me a PM if you're attending a fun event in the near future or if you'd like to join in a meetup. :) You need not make excuses for speaking out against a program that only looks like harm reduction on the surface; that doesn't make you right wing - it makes you smart. And MUNI is a complete fucking disgrace - ALL of the city's citizens deserve good public transportation. Give it to our infrastructure, our schools, and disaster planning.

As said before, I support decriminalization of personal amounts of drugs. It is ridiculous to incarcerate someone for having a small baggie of whatever. I do not think legalizing drugs will eliminate the black market, nor will it reduce crime. If what has happened with medical marijuana (which averages $60/eighth plus tax) were to happen with heroin, prices would ostensibly go UP.

I have never heard of anyone coming out of the needle exchange being arrested, although I am sure it has happened.

Lastly, the issue of personal responsibility must be again brought to the forefront. Don't have a place to do your drugs? Can't afford your drugs? Then don't do drugs. Do you have a private residence in which you can do your drugs? Are you able to afford drugs? Then do them as you please; in a personal amount, without street dealing to support your habit. Doing drugs is not a right (nor for that matter is it a privilege) and if being disinclined to support someone else's problem with IV drugs by creating new programs for counseling, life coaching and rehabilitation makes me a right-winger, then slap an elephant pin on my lapel and toss me a cowboy hat.