No safe way to inject deadly drugs


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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 05/10/2022 (237 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

With unparalleled availability of cheap drugs offering highs that last for days, North American cities, including Winnipeg, are grappling with how to best address the problem, and the homelessness and tent-camps it creates. European cities have tried numerous strategies, and some of these failed approaches are being suggested by NDP MLAs as worth trying here.

Let’s be clear — there is no safe way to inject a lethal substance into anyone’s veins. There is no safe place to inject, and there is no such thing as “safe” supply of drugs or needles when it comes to using substances never intended for human consumption, substances which can kill instantly, or at best reduce life expectancy by decades. Illicit drugs are not safe to use and we must stop talking as if they might be. They are illegal for a reason and need to stay that way.

But we do need compassionate solutions that work. The justice system has a role to play, especially with traffickers who sell people the chemical equivalent of a hand grenade with the pin pulled — those people belong in prison. But throwing drug users in jail clogs up prisons, costs millions and often doesn’t address root causes. Many users view addiction as their solution long before it becomes their problem.

Many drug users view addiction as their solution long before it becomes their problem, but there is nothing safe about drug use, drug supply or drug addiction.

Growing numbers of cities including San Francisco and Vancouver are acknowledging their failed experiments with the kinds of ideas being talked around Winnipeg — safe injection sites, decriminalization and even safe supply of taxpayer-funded drugs. Cities which have tried these things have learned the hard way they don’t work and create havoc in downtowns with drug-culture ghettos. We don’t need those things here, so let’s learn from their mistakes.

Thankfully, treatment strategies with proven results are emerging, keeping needles off our playgrounds and getting people well enough to work and enjoy life. And jurisdictions are talking. I recently attended a workshop led by former addicts who cautioned us sternly and intelligently about these failed approaches.

Manitoba’s Progressive Conservative government is engaging these models to effectively help people — and all without the premise that there is anything safe about drug use, drug supply or drug addiction. Let’s be smart about this, let’s move forward with compassion and proven strategies to keep our streets and playgrounds safe and people off drugs.

Andrew Micklefield is the MLA for Rossmere and is available at 204-289-4545 or

Andrew Micklefield

Andrew Micklefield
Rossmere constituency report

Andrew Micklefield is PC MLA for Rossmere and the government whip for the Province of Manitoba.

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