I was asked about my opinion of homelessness and drug addiction recently (snickering in Boris’s direction). These are complex and complicated topics, too complicated and complex to note on a FB page. First topic, drug addiction. There is no cure for the disease. One either is capable of kicking a habit or one is not. Genetic predisposition? Possibly. Damaged psyche? Also and probably, in most cases, a root cause. There is no single reason for people to take and become addicted to substances, therefore, it follows that there will not be a single magic bullet to remove the disease.
The first step toward a civilized and intelligent society would be to legalize drugs. Cut out the criminal element and a good lot of our problems would be solved. Monitor quality and there would be far fewer needless deaths due to the crap that is cut into the drugs by the above mentioned criminal elements.
I can hear old ladies hitting the floor as they faint… LEGALIZE DRUGS!!! WE WOULD CREATE A NATION OF DRUG ADDICTS!!! NO! NO! And my response? Like we don’t have a nation of addicts as it is? Tobacco, booze, prescription meds? Individuals will take drugs whether the law says they may or not. You can’t stop someone from taking drugs if that is the choice that they’ve made. Unfortunately, that choice, now, comes with some damn serious consequences for society in general. Again, first and foremost, crime. Street gangs, Les Motards and other sorts of organized crime; drive by shootings, murder over drugs, theft, assault – the list is endless and the prisons are full to exploding with people involved in the drug trade.
I look around at my family, my friends, my co-workers; we all have the ability to go out and buy drugs. We do not. It is simply something that we don’t choose to do. Any one of us could go out and buy whatever drug suited our fancy. We don’t. If speed or heroin were made legal and sold in pharmacies, along with the Valium, the Ritalin and the Zoloft or at the S.A.Q, with the wine, the gin or the rum? I wouldn’t buy it. I don’t like drugs. Yes, I’ve done ’em and I choose not to do them. I don’t like the feeling of any of them. I prefer to be in total control of all my faculties. Most people feel the same but there are those among us who do not. For whatever goddam reason they have, they feel that to get through their lives, they need help. It isn’t up to us to judge the pain of others. This is the problem, we need to find a safe solution for everyone. Prison isn’t it.
If you have scads of money and you need help with your addiction? You can go to rehab. If you are like the majority of drug users and don’t have money? There is no help for you. Why is it acceptable for some Hollywood personality to admit their addiction and receive no end of support, sympathy but a young man or woman on the street, is vilified?
Legalize the stuff, control the quality, remove the criminal element and we would have the resources to ensure that those who choose to remove drugs from their lives, have the opportunity to do so. Imagine the millions upon millions saved by not having to jail street gang thugs. Imagine the lives saved from violence, if the stuff was available, legally. This won’t promote drug use, anymore than legalized booze turns everyone into a wino. Or that tobacco turns everyone into a smoker. People WILL take drugs. It can’t be stopped but it can certainly be made less of a risk for the addict and less of a risk for society at large. Drug addiction has a part of humanity since we first learned to chew a Kava leaf. The war on drugs is a joke. It simply puts money in the drug dealers’ pockets and I believe, politicians pockets as well. Common sense should tell us that the war is a fraud, if there ever was a war to begin with. Legalize it, legalize all of it. Control the quality. Provide help to EVERYONE, not just the super-rich, when they decide it is time to quit. Cut out the street gangs. Lessen the number of people in prisons. Increase the public coffers and allow people who are addicted to have some dignity. That dignity can go a long way to allowing these people to be productive members of society.
A vast number of the homeless are mentally ill. They should, in a civilized society, be in a hospital, receiving care for their illness. Apparently, we don’t have the money. We do have money to pay kickbacks to the construction industry; we do have money to pay blue collar workers more money than university graduates. We do have money to pay exorbitant salaries to elected officials, along with more than generous expense accounts. We have all kinds of money for committees that decide nothing. Yet, we don’t have the money to help the mentally ill?
Homeless shelters are forced to rely on public support through donations to survive. Every year, there is less money available to the average Joe to donate. Here’s a question to our government: Where is this lotto money going? Way back, during Expo 67, we were told the lottery money would be used for the public good. Well, I’m the public and I have seen no proof of this. Where are all those millions going? The Montreal Casino which is government run; where is that money going? Not to our schools, not to our hospitals and definitely not to helping the mentally ill. Mini-lotto, Super-Max, 6/49, Quebec 49 and all those ubiquitous scratch tickets…where are the proceeds going? The billions of dollars that were supposed to come to the public? Where the hell is the money going?
Sadly, most of us are so damn busy trying to survive, trying to pay our taxes that we don’t have the time to advocate, to protest what the government does with the aforementioned gambling profits or latter mentioned tax dollars. If any of these bureaucrats worked in the private sector? They would have had their asses fired for incompetence at best, embezzlement at worst.
There is help for the homeless; it lies in the government coffers (politicians/bureaucratic pockets and offshore bank accounts). It lies in our hands as well, to protest in any way we need to do, in order to wake the government up and scare the living crap out of them. Worked in France, during the French Revolution. If the government won’t listen to words, maybe it is time that they were shocked into action, through OUR actions. I abhor violence but it seems that the governments leave us with little choice.