Harm Reduction

Prospects for Stimulant Maintenance in Vancouver, Canada

Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, B.C.

Medical provision of orally-administered stimulants is a harm reduction technique that could reduce suffering and slow the spread of AIDS among cocaine misusers in Vancouver, B.C., Canada. However, experimentation with stimulant maintenance will be difficult to carry out until the public's exaggerated fears of cocaine and other stimulants, engendered by a prolonged "War on Drugs", have subsided. This article explores the prospects for stimulant maintenance by (1) reviewing the actual dangers and benefits arising from use of cocaine and other stimulants, (2) describing small scale stimulant maintenance programs that already exist in various countries, and (3) drawing from Vancouver's experience with methadone maintenance to propose first steps towards stimulant maintenance. Although we focus our analysis on Vancouver, we believe it has wider applicability.

Read more: Prospects for Stimulant Maintenance in Vancouver, Canada

Thinking More Deeply about Harm Reduction: An Open Letter to Margaret Wente

This is an updated form of a letter I sent to Margaret Wente in response to her attacks on Vancouver's harm reduction program. Her first four columns on this topic appeared in the Globe and Mail in July 2008. I originally wrote her on 10 October 2008 and re-sent the letter on 15 October. She acknowledged receipt, but did not respond to my critique. She then published another attack on harm reduction in November, 2008. This open letter, published in the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives for February 2009, addresses all five of her columns.

Read more: Thinking More Deeply about Harm Reduction: An Open Letter to Margaret Wente

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