Recovery Connections

John Schwary is CEO of Transitional Living Communities, an 850-bed recovery program he founded in Mesa, Arizona January 9, 1992, when he had a year sober. He's in his 28th year of recovery.

In these posts, he views life mostly through the lenses of recovery. While the blog is factual, he often disguises events and people to protect anonymity.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

More Legal Heroin

On June 2 in this blog, I wrote about Switzerland's answer to the heroin epidemic. And Switzerland's answer is to provide free heroin to addicts and a place for them to use it. The result is a lowering of overdose deaths, fewer cases of AIDS, and a lower crime rate because heroin addicts had stopped stealing to get their drugs.

Now a program like that found in Switzerland has come to North America. In Vancouver, Canada, heroin addicts are able to get their fix every day without having to steal and without having to risk their health buying contaminated drugs, or drugs of an unknown strength.

And this week, I read that in 2016 painkillers killed more Americans than did the entire Vietnam War. Over 55,000 people succumbed to drug overdoses last year, a stunning statistic in a country that for 50 years has waged a so-called "war on drugs."

All my adult life I've watched heroin addicts die for no good reason. Yes, many people say that they deserve what they get because they made the choice to use the drugs. But the reality is that addicts are not bad people. They are sick people who are most often their own worst enemy.

The idea that countries more civilized than ours are using an intelligent approach to addiction gives me hope. And the hope is that addicts will no longer have to die or go to prison trying to obtain drugs that he or she needs to live a so-called "normal" life. We need to no longer judge addicts. We need to do, as a society, whatever we can to reduce the harm they do to themselves.

Click this link to read more about Vancouver's innovative approach to the heroin epidemic that has plagued their city for many years.