MY recent negative column about injection sites in prison and elsewhere triggered a rapid response. Here is a good sampling of both sides of the issue.
From BK: “Isn`t that rich? Physicians help in a major way to create the huge opioid problem, and you as a doctor, say death to drug dealers. Finding a doctor is hard enough, now you want to execute them.”
A retired minister writes: “Your column is the highlight in my life every week. Your call for heavy punishment will be seen as a return to the cruelty of the past. But I thank you for your wisdom and advice, and congratulate you on your courage. I knew a Minister who spent several years in China. He told me that when the Communists arrived, posters warned that anyone caught selling illegal drugs would be executed. Later, all the citizens were told to come to the local square. A soldier was standing behind five men. An official said they had been caught selling illegal drugs. Then he told the soldiers to shoot each one in the hands. The official then said, the next time it will be in the head! The Minister`s friend said, that within a day all drugs disappeared, and could not be purchased for any price.”
A.S. writes: “Add me to the list of those who support every word you wrote. I have advocated the Singapore solution for many years because it works. If you ever come to our city you sill witness a wasteland of dire proportions. Our injection sites hand out thousands of needles and other goodies to a growing number of addicts flooding our city of 100,000. They can also receive food, shelter, clothing, which I call the ‘Fabulous Consumption Clubhouse’. Moreover a lawyer has successfully shut down police from doing anything about it through her no carding campaign. Some say, we will spend what it takes to save lives, and that it is an historic day for our city. I’m ashamed to call it my home, and believe our country is going to hell.”
From S.K.: “I think you should look to Portugal’s successful program on decriminalization of drugs. I do not want to see hanging brought back, nor do I want to live under Singapore’s draconian rules. The Philippines are also trying a similar approach with rivers of blood from people who were shot without cause or trial. Democracy is messy, but there are answers out there for those who are willing to think outside the box. I am horrified by your thinking.”
From Dave: “Yes the approach to drugs on the whole in Canada needs an overhaul. It is certainly not an Opioid Summit. I am in agreement with Lee Kuan Yew’s approach and it should be applied to mass shooters as well. I am an avid reader of your column.”
From Ron: “Good column. But more people have to step forward to correct this political correct theory that’s a joke and not working.”
From A.H.: “I like your unafraid statement of facts which need to be emulated by journalists and hopefully some courageous politicians.”
The final tally? A huge majority of correspondents are in favour of returning the death penalty. However, its opponents should not lose any sleep. I don’t know of one Canadian politician who has the intestinal fortitude to introduce a bill sponsoring its return as they fear they will not be re-elected. I believe they’re 100 percent wrong. And that the drug crisis will have to get worse before people say enough is enough.
Today, in one North American city, innocent bystanders, young children playing in a school yard were killed in the crossfire of gang war. I wonder how many of those who are against capital punishment would speedily change their minds, if this had caused the death of one of their own loved ones? Or when a loved one dies from a fatal dose of opioid laced with Fentanyl supplied by an immoral unconscionable drug dealer?
I’m not a Communist. And what happened in the Chinese square may seem shocking to some people. But I believe we too could quickly end illegal drug dealing in this country if we threatened the drug dealer’s head.
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Dr. Ken Walker (Gifford-Jones) is a graduate of the University of Toronto and The Harvard Medical School. He trained in general surgery at the Strong Memorial Hospital, University of Rochester, Montreal General Hospital, McGill University and in Gynecology at Harvard. He has also been a general practitioner, ship’s surgeon and hotel doctor. His weekly medical column is published by 70 Canadian newspapers and 12 in the U.S. The readership is six million. He is the author of nine books.