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The money pit

From Saturday's Globe and Mail

$1.4-billion in public and private money has been spent on Vancouver's Downtown Eastside since 2000. Results? Limited progress at best. ...Read the full article

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  1. Jimmy connors from Canada writes: The irony is that you rarely hear about shootings in the downtown ('slum') east side. Always happens some where far from it.
  2. E M from Vancouver, Canada writes: I don't even need to read this article...living in Vancouver I see these people all over the place, not just in the downtown east side.

    You want to fix the problem? EASY!

    Round them all up, move them up to place in the interior where NO ONE lives, put them in housing, put a farm or something around them, and clean them up.

    No pimps around them, no drug dealers, nothing but nature, doctors, and nurses.

    WHY THE HELL DO YOU LEFTIES WANT TO KEEP THEM IN THE DOWNTOWN EASTSIDE!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?

    If people had some freaking balls and didn't always worry about being politically correct this problem could fixed.

    Oh, and by the way, all the provinces that send their bums to BC, either we send them the bill for taking care of these people, or we just ship them back.

    Thanks Alberta!
  3. double mike from Canada writes: .

    The only solution to the drugs problem is legalization of soft drugs. Of course vested interests of law enforcement, bigots and drug mafia will never let it happen.

    .
  4. Matthew Harper from Toronto, Canada writes: It sounds like a pretty reasonable situation that a great deal of Canadians who want an urban, alternative (rent free) lifestyle should congregate to the area of Canada with the least oppressive climate (wrt politics and weather). $100 Million a year or so doesn't sound so bad to try to improve the quality of life for these folks. What do we spend on placating separatists every year? 5 Billion? 10 Billion?
  5. Debra Burkhardt from Delta, Canada writes: $26000/person/year isn't much
  6. globefan Eh from Canada writes: Addiction and the accompanying descent into hell is a terrible millstone. Young teenage hookers, runaways, disposable people, who could forget the Pig Farm. Who can forget the failed War on Drugs, Just Say No and the money the Gangs in Vancouver are making because of the refusal to decriminalise pot and tax it, but all the while tolerating teen binge drinking at local nightclubs with impunity. Alcohol is a much bigger problem in BC than pot. Methampetamine, heroin, crack cocaine, and the demon alcohol drives those mentally ill into ever worse and ever downward spirals. We have money for Olympic Villages and the finest of everything..and yet the one facility that is making a difference has struggled to stay open because of ideology and Harper. Doctors know the problem, let them deal with it and fund them, money saved in harm reduction programs is well worth the investment. A poster said send them to the interior where no one can see them, well sir you may have to live with the fact these are Canadians. They are your neighbors kids, your uncle, an ex soldier, a first nation victim of abuse a rich man's daughter caught up in it all..all of them there in one place.. East Vancouver is an issue of homelessness and poverty it is not an issue of law enforcement. The war on drugs is a failure and until politicians start listening to the medical community we are not going anywhere and the spiralling costs of non leadership will continue.
  7. L P from Canada writes:
    I agree with Debra.
  8. George Smiley from Canada writes: Early in my career I worked to stop the importation of illegal substances. This brought me into close contact with most parts of the chain of distribution. I eventually came to the conclusion that enforcement is relatively ineffective. I also came to the tentative conclusion that with many users there was no solution. It is possible that there is no acceptable or affordable solution to deal with the behavior that society considers to be problematic.
  9. Ed Long from Canada writes: E M ... great comment.

    The lefties want the people in the DTES to stay status quo because they provide the necessary victims to justify their phoney baloney action groups, studies and subsidized agencies that provide THEM, not the DTESers with a living.

    No victims, no left.

    globefan ... isolated rehab. facilities have proven to be successful in other countries and a few in Canada, i.e. Quebec. It's three months in isolation and hardball realities and work/study schedules. The biggest failure is the return to areas like DTES or Victoria where scoring a hit is easier than getting a meal.

    The cost? $30,000 and many of the people are subsidized by private individuals. The success rate, meaning no lapse, is about 22%. If they return to their original environment, it's over and suicide is a 1/4 chance.
  10. desiderio manzanal jr from sunshine, Canada writes: The money Pit. Sad title to a seriouse humanitarian crisis and reflection of our dedication to change the way things are. But have we said money pit to the 20 billion plus spent on the afganasthan war or the billions spent on the gun registry computer or the millions and billion of money spent on political wrangling. and on lawyers on political drama that we see played on tv. How much money was spent ont the two elections just for the greedy power hungry people can play with our future....where is our pride... over 10 years its 100 million a year. It is true, there is bad accouting here. and i might be right in saying there are a lot of people taking advantage of the system and leached money from this. It looks like more money went to lawyers, and real states than to the homeless. The article fails to indicate how many people were helped to change their lives and got out of this place and how many people have fallen in that bad situation. This would be indicated in the stable number of homeless and or addicts in the area. The rate of increase and decrease will tell you whether somethings is changing. The articles fails to indicate whether the problem is getting worst. The problem is complicated in that there are many reason that contribute to this...family problems, crimes, drugs, gangsterism, poverty, mental health. Most are link to each other and there is generational links to problems. We are not perfect and not all of us will be able to adapt to changing society. We are however not immune to such fall. Life can change overnight...we can get sick, we can have an accident...anything is possible. The only thing i know is that we all must look at ourselves in the mirror and asked ourselves what we are doing and what have happened to our pride...to our sense of obligation, how did we become so hardened that we can walk away. How can we get our pride back. The money Pit ?
  11. Angry West Coast Canuck from Canada writes: I do have several questions though: How was that number of $1.4 billion calculated? Who (people, not generic groupings) was the money paid out to? What did those people DO with the money? Perhaps if the money was distributed with a bit more accountability, rather than just spread out to eventually vanish into someones wallet, we would get better results?

    Because last time I was in East Side, I didn't notice that much had in fact physically changed in many years, other than certain developers being allowed to convert low income housing to high-rent housing and forcing yet more people out onto the street. I did see a lot of people who belonged in mental health care institutions - oh, but our government closed most (all?) of those. I saw a few people who belonged in just basic care homes - ah, but our government hasn't actually provided any new spaces for a while have they? Basically, I saw a lot of people at the end of their rope and just hanging on while the rest of the city tried to sweep them under a convenient rug.
  12. con hack loser PM is bad for Canada from Canada writes: Eddie longnose - why is this a 'left' issue? Ever consider there are solutions that aren't partisan in nature? Oh, wait, forgot - you con hack idiot types can't see grey - only black and white. Loser.
  13. Jimmy K from Toronto, Canada writes: There is no solution.

    If people want to destroy themselves, you cannot stop them. No amount of treatment, money, or facilities will stop people who are addicted and don't care for their own health or lives.
  14. Apu Nahasapeemapetilon from Vancouver, Canada writes: Much of the problems in the DTES can be traced to the BC NDP when they were in power from 1991 to 2001. First, they closed Riverview Hospital under the guise of community care. The mentally ill who comprised the population of Riverview would receive treatment closer to home in their own communities. Monies saved by closing Riverview would be directed into community care. The NDP closed Riverview; but the money never flowed into community care.

    I worked for an agency in the 1990's that provided support to mental health consumers. What did the NDP do for mental health consumers that needed housing; they dumped them into the rathole hotels of the DTES.
  15. Winston Smith from Canada writes: Downtown Eastside, daily gangland shooting both have one thing in common. illegal DRUGS. Politicians have for years ignored tackling the real disease. Instead they've thrown all sorts of tax dollars at the symptoms with little to show for except more tax free profits for the criminal drug squads. Why is that???
  16. Ed Long from Canada writes: The DTESers are not symptomatic of the total drug problem.

    Those people are the end of the line. I took a young rehab. crack/cocaine addict for dim sum on Pender and we parked on Hastings. We walked around the block. He comes from a comfy middle class home and his parents have disassociated him.

    He was totally silent and obviously saw the reality of a few lapses and failed rehab. .... end of the line.

    There is no solution and the liberal, small el, accommodators have their warehouse of victims. Life expectancy is hugely reduced and most had deficiencies before the drugs. The drugs just mask the diversity of social problems and societal dysfunction. They are a symptom not the root cause and each individual has their own history.
  17. Paul B from Vancouver, Canada writes: I agree with EM.

    As a long time volunteer in the Vancouver East since 2001, I see that the problem is not with the limited funding. You pour 2 billion dollars more; it won't fix it, 3 billions, 4 billion... You are dreaming! Money won't solve the problem. These folks don't listen, trust me I've tried. You've got to understand that 'some people' are beyond help, no matter how hard you try.

    Your best bet is to remove these vulnerable people away from dangerous drug dealers and pimps. Build houses in the interior, make them grow food like many pioneers did in the 1800s; give them a REAL second chance to live like a human being.

    This is what you should do if you REALLY care about them. Most people think a cigarette, a pocket change and complaining to government will solve the problem. Guess what, that doesn't work! Tough situation requires tough calls.

    It's a time for change.
  18. Michael JT from Vancouver, Canada writes: I've watched the downtown east side decline for over 20 years. Sad. Not much that has been implemented at great cost over the years has changed the area for the better -- if anything, it's worse. We appease the situation and then wonder why it doesn't work. Taxpayers pay and pay, but still, it doesn't help. Free needles, shooting galleries, tolerance for open injecting and dealing, and so on. Insanity! Only those willing to help themselves will succeed with help.

    The cost quoted in this article does not account for the related crime so many of us must pay to remedy; break-ins, thefts, muggings -- they all add up (think ICBC). Vancouver has enabled this situation; Vancouver is in denial; Vancouver has lost it's shine, its glow. Years ago, the city used the same enticing rhetoric and offered the same promises as it does today.

    I hope that during the Olympics, the world sees the East side for what it is and embarrasses the city into resolving this situation however that may be. What to do? I don't know. But maybe not taking drugs to begin with would help prevent the tail from always wagging the dog.
  19. doug m from coal harbour, Canada writes: 1 Billion dollars just announced for security to protect the rich at the olympics, while they party.

    Clearly the money could be better spent on this problem.
  20. Hal F from Canada writes: It seems like its articles like this that permeate the notion that social problems can't be solved, and as a result our citizens most in need are further marginalized by public opinion. Most of these comments are in line with my views on the matter and its more the tone of the article itself that bothers me.
  21. Randal Oulton from Canada writes: Wow, it's an industry. The money is ending up somewhere. But bless, none of it seems to be helping these poor souls. Clearly, more investment is needed.
  22. Sue W from Canada writes: I agree with EM and Paul B.

    But don't send them to Ontario. We have our own problems.
  23. Uncle Fester from Canada writes:
    Liberal social justice is just a hippie dream.

    Flower power has been replaced by disease, misery and death.

    You can't put a price on getting high.
  24. Kerri Waite from Ottawa, Canada writes: 'A directory of free services in the Downtown Eastside prepared for street people lists five shelters, seven locations for free clothing and six places for free meals. Free phones, free hair cuts, free dental work, laundry and showers are available' all this for free.. well no wonder they flock there, I'm a student and that's a deal that's extremely appealing to me right now. that being said i'm not hard-core right wing, and i do believe that the help they receive is necessary. and though over 1 billion has been spent, the globe never seemed to take into account what the situation would be like without all this money put into the programs and if they were all thrown in jail, what would the cost then be (ie. legal fees, jail fees, parol, more legal fees when they thrown back in). if all this money is being spent, i agree with another reader. the city should sit down and really evaluate the situation. clearly nothing is allowing for anything sustainable. programs like rehab, mental facilities and just old age homes that are accessible for the low-income range are really whats in order. i'd rather see government money allowing access to proper facilities with proper care, then seeing it go to more programs that just allow them to continue the habits that are costing all the money in first place. implement programs that allow for lower costs in the long run, not just something that continues to suck money but never fixes it.
  25. Dan L from Canada writes: Trying to clean up a drug addict in the middle of DTES is downright stupid. That's like trying to change a binge drinker's behaviour while he/she's locked in a beer store. The minute your back's turned bam! it's back to well learned behaviour. Go ahead, piss and moan about how much money is spent on anything else than your personal crusade! Spend more money, do more studies, hire more social workers, question the G & M's cost estimates, and continue claiming that all we have to do is decriminalize drugs and everything will be fine ............ whatever you do don't a) admit that addicts have to removed from the harmful environment they're, not have it made as convenient and comfortable as possible, and b) you'll never have a 100% success rate, some people just won't respond so stop pretending spending every increasing sums of money will solve everything.

    The only reason we can afford allowing so many to become dependant on the state instead of themselves is our current high level of productivity so lord help us if it ever slips.
  26. Vincent Van Go-Go from Netherlands writes:
    It sounds like a national problem but the symptoms are most strongly manifested in Vancouver. Probably you can't solve one without the other.
  27. J R from Vancouver, Canada writes: It is always amazing that Vancouver has the most health-oriented population in Canada, while at the same time it has the most unhealthy population in Canada. A big part of the problem is not limited to Vancouver, but it is prevalent everywhere. It is that addiction always takes precedence over health under our system. It is never the addict's problem. It is the government's problem. It is the drug dealer's problem. It is the addict's family's problem. The addict is always seen as a child that is not responsible for his or her actions. The same is true with cigarette addicts. If you do not like being poisoned by them, that is your problem. The addict is in no way responsible for poisoning innocent peple who have chosen health over addiction and disease. So long as addiction is protected and facilitated, the problem will persist, and innocent people will be harmed. Addicts have to be held responsible for their actions. They are the cause of their problems, and of other people's problems. The notion of Harm Reduction has to be amended to mean limiting the harm of addiction to those who choose that lifestyle. Currently it means facilitating and encouraging their addiction, which does not reduce the harm they do to others or to themselves. How about fining and throwing addicts in jail for poisoning the innocent, for breaking into people's cars and homes, and for littering on the streets? How about ceasing to insure through government health plans the self-inflicted ailments that result from cigarette and other drug usage? Treating addicts like responsible adults is the only thing we have not yet tried.
  28. truth betold from Canada writes: I'll tell you where the money went: to people and groups who have a vest interest in keeping that festering sore a running problem.

    What would DEYAS put on its welfare, er, funding application if there were no longer a problem for them to 'fix.'

    Declare a health emergency in the area. Jail the pimps (preferably taser the sh!t out of them on the way to the station), give the hookers job re-training, and put the crackheads in a van, drive them out into the middle of nowhere, and let them sweat it out in a padded room under full medical supervision.

    Declare Zero Tolerance on drugs in the area. Tasers set on kill, as far as I'm concerned.

    It's time to stop coddling losers who contribute absolutely nothing to society.

    And declare any leftie mush-head who tries to operate in the area an enemy of the state and toss THEM in jail.

    Taxpayers and honest people are sick & tired. You hippies need to conduct your failed social experiments elsewhere, like The Netherlands. Or the Moon.
  29. R. M. from Regina, Canada writes: Surprise surprise...dysfunctionalism/addiction is not independent nor dependent on money!! think on that for awhile.
  30. Point Blank from Vancouver, Canada writes: For so long there has been an invisible containment line where drug use, addiction, homelessness, prostitution and a host of other urban socio-issues have been allowed to fester. A decade will not make a dent in what is sometimes multi-generational poverty and drug addiction. Also, with the closure of mental health hospitals, namely Riverview, we have seen an explosion of homelessness in the downtown core. There's two main problems. 1) addiction, 2) homelessness: 1) The problem of addiction is first and foremost a plague for the DTES. If we accept that addiction is a form of disease and treat it from a mental health stand point; we would save a lot of resources and get people off the street and into treatment. Service providers have become so desperate to help these people that all they can do is supervise injections and make sure they do not kill themselves. At least it gets a few hundred thousand needles per year away from the general public. 2) The other issue is housing. The problem is that bureaucrats are involved and to get anything done takes years. A permanent unit of social housing, just like regular market housing, takes 5 years to plan, finance, draw, tender and build... Add to that 3 levels of government wrangling, a difficult neighbourhood to sometimes get organized and the right market conditions (funding)... It's really gross. I would encourage a stop-gap solution that can go up quickly. I've heard talk recently of housing similar to what the Tarsand workers live in, they are cheap, go up fast, safe, and are only temporary while real permanent housing is being built or better yet a place to help people just get back on their feet. But it takes political will that just isn't there. Not even in the face of an Olympic event in our front yard. We can do more with less, but it has to be done with the right goals in mind.
  31. Peter Fulton from Vancouver, Canada writes:
    We paid to build the DTES, and we were successful.

    If there was no DTES and we wanted to create one, how would we do it?
    Well, we'd spend a load of money providing facilities that would attract the right kind of people. The kind of thing they couldn't get anywhere else. But only just good enough that other's would not be interested. We'd lay on everything but the drugs. That would be a bit much. But with no where better to go, and all those facilities from health and social services, accommodation, drop in centres, missions, charities, clothing, and so on, how could we fail. And for those that died, more would come to replace them.

    Unfortunately we have to have the courage to start to talk about NOT providing facilities for this lifestyle. That doesn't mean hating them, or cutting them off. Stopping people killing themselves is not hateful. I don't get the choice of whether to wear a seatbelt or not, the state decides for me.

    As for solutions, I'm with those who would incarcerate repeat low grade offenders in farms in the interior or equivalent, where they have a chance to have a life away from an environment that destroys them, and that they don't have the will to overcome. Anything less is negligence on our part.
  32. George BrownIII from Christmas Island writes: What does Conrad Black costs a year in prison? Addiction or chemical dependibilities should be treated as real disabilities. Not as criminal acts. I agree with the poster put them in the interior give then their required dose every day as long as they like and cure them if they so wish. A hell of a lot cheaper for all taxpayers.
  33. M Vatcher from Canada writes: If looked at as an experiment it seems clear that all the programs in the world aren't going to solve the problem. I would prefer, the addicts simply go to jail, the dealers go to jail. 3 months in jail is enough time to get clean, next time the sentnence is longer. The dealers get 5 years. The cops should start enforcing the law.
  34. Bert Russell Paradox, BC from Canada writes: Problems like this are never solved by weak Politicians ... their answer is to train our Police in the BC Academy to be PR types and Social Workers.
    There is no proven rehabilition for these homeless, addicted, infected with Aids etc ... so the Police spent a large portion of their time ferrying these unfortunate people through the revolving door of the system.
    We have interviews where the Police Chief (Politically) indicates progress is being made in crime reduction in the East End ... which keeps the needle centres open and enabling addicts to get their illegal fix ... which according to the lobby groups and supporters of the whole circus to is the answer ... meanwhile valuable police time is taken up processing these marginalyzed whether it be for minor crime or health care.
    If we had supervised re hab centres where these people could be properly assessed and reclaimed then our police could be dealing with gangs and violent crime ...
    Suddenly the gun crime has the Politicians wringing their hands and what does Gordo do .. he hires 10 more prosecutors and 160 more police .... .>>> we still have many police doing social work for a Social problem that has not been properly addressed <<< we still have mickey mouse laws which the Fed Govt sought to toughen up but the
    Federal NDP and Liberals still believe putting criminals in jail is punitive. (Not protection of the public ... just protection of the criminals).
    Where did the money go ... it is supporting the new cottage Industry of enabling and the revolving door to no where.
  35. T Mac from Victoria, Canada writes: I worked in the downtown eastside from 2006-08. Each day I stepped around passed out bodies, dodged occasionally hostile crackheads, and watched shopkeepers deal with desperate, broken people. My out-of-town friends called it Zombieland. In town friends, Bumland. It seemed funny at the time, not so funny after $1B.

    I stopped giving money when a street person tossed a pizza slice I bought for them up in my face. This happened not once, but twice. That's when it finally dawned on me that no amount of handouts was going to solve the problem of the DTES.

    The truth, which most will not face, is that the DTES is a magnet for the homeless, the addicted, the mentally ill, and the scum who prey on these people. These include drug dealers, pimps, and all manner of petty criminals.

    So how do you solve it? You do the same thing that Chicago did with the Cabrini Green ghetto in the 80s: you split up and relocate people to other neighbourhoods. You put them in treatment programs far away. You train and give them a decent JOB. Yes, even if you have to subsidize it. Then you systematically dismantle the things that keep drawing them back: The cheap boozecans. The open air crack markets. The pawnshops. And yes, dare I say it, the single-room occupant hotels, as well.

    Gentrification will slowly occur. Commerce will gradually return. Crime will decrease. Young families will trickle back. Social activists will hate it. Vancouverites will rejoice.
  36. bob london from Canada writes: Nothing will fix this. Cops knew picton tried and we even knew in grade 10 to stay away from the 'flats' Vancouver East side will always be of this element and the Left Wing Nuts can't solve the problem. As long as there are few jobs, high taxes, low hope for Canadians some will always fall through. Stop wasting so much on the standard deviations so far from the means since you kill the country for the majority.
  37. Paul Thompson from Canada writes: Truth be told, you are a fascist idiot.
  38. Michael Powers from Canada writes: Pouring money into this problem is a waste of precious resources and attracting more users to the area. All this is accomplishing is to enable the junkie.

    The mentally incompetent should be back in the hospitals that used to exist before Boob Rae and his NDP Government in Ontario decided to liberate them by closing those hospitals.

    There is a ray of light on the horizon for Vancouver, a group in Ottawa is trying to set up a free injection site in that city to go along with the free needle handout program. That should attract a good number of junkies that would normally migrate to B.C.
  39. Stephen Green from North Saanich, BC, Canada writes: Shocking! Completely destroys the concepts as promoted by socialists and liberals to solve the DTES problems.

    The velvet glove approach just does not work.

    I agree with those that suggest that a mental institution is the best place for these folks, and that homeless should be forced to relocate to an isolated place and rehabilitated.
  40. diego f. from nyc, United States writes: i don't get why these zombies should be treated with white gloves. they ruin the neighborhood by urinating, defecating, robbing and doing drugs, regardless of their neighbors (young and old). in most countries, criminals go to jail. they don't get special treatment like free housing, psychologists and cozy policies. the government should work for the working majority, the ones that pay the taxes and no doubt, people in trouble deserve a chance, but not when they don't do their part.
  41. Squish_a_p From BC from Canada writes: It is refreshing to see some positive, caring comments here. I believe that mental illness is the largest part of the problem and really where most of the addiction starts. It is a medical problem and we should allow the doctors to deal with it. As a parent of an addict, I would gladly take some responsibility to help my daughter but the law has taken that out of my hands. I believe she needs someone to take her best interests into account and make sure she gets the help she needs, that includes getting her out of the current environment in the DTES. She can not succeed on her own judgement, that's a given. I would love to be able to grab her and force her into a mental health facility, away from the drugs.
  42. Russell Barth from Nepean, Canada writes: E M from Vancouver: you are advocating for concentration camps. Take heart: there are many of them all over Canada and hundreds are in the US, some even have big ovens.

    The cure for this is pretty easy: stop spending so much money on cops and courts and cages and start spending it on rehab beds

    2) legalize pot. that will save about $2 billion a year, and the tax revenue will generate an additional $3 billion per year. that way the stoners can pay for the mess the cops made, and the taxpayers won't have to.

    3) regulate hard drugs through pharmaices. when made by labs, heroin and coke and ex are pennies a dose. that will eliminate the dealers' customer base

    4) give out hard drugs in clinics. no safe injection sites, no crack pipe exchange, just a clinic with oral dosing.

    it won't solve the problem, but it will get it to a manageble rate
  43. J D from Canada writes: What about a local census to find out more about the residents, temporary and permanent? Knowing who they are, where they are from, and what's happening in their lives could help to formulate better approaches.

    Certainly, there should be a good understanding of what initiatives have been tried and what results they have delivered. Otherwise real progress is impossible.
  44. Stuey D from Canada writes: The DTE is a mental health issue more than a drugs issue. As someone else said, most people there are severely mentally ill. Closing the Riverview caused the current situation and drug dealers moved in to take advantage of the general lawlessness of the area, which I actually always felt completely safe walking through by the way on a daily basis. The problem is exacerbated by Vancouver's mild climate, which means we take in the waifs and strays, the homeless and the disadvantaged from around Canada. This is a Canada problem as much as a Vancouver problem.
  45. Misery No one from toronto, Canada writes: Every society has these problems lots of them are mental. The cure? There is none just tolerance.
  46. Pete H from Canada writes: In political parlance 'clearly' not enough money is being spent.
  47. Roop Misir from Toronto, Canada writes: Enjoy the good time as it comes.

    With that giant amount of money, who says that no one benefits?

    Is this what we can expect with other taxpayer funds? That's the $64 billion question!
  48. Tim Ryan from Rothesay, Canada writes: I would like to add a comment about housing, costing and goverment programs. If your municipality is like mine, politicians annouce the same housing programs time after time, for the sole purpose of getting a self serving photo opportunity. If you want to know about a good housing program, consider supporting your local Habitat for Humanity affiliate - a self pertpuating charity housng program that enpowers people through affordable home ownership which takes mortgage payments to build new homes.
  49. hunter cole from Toronto, Canada writes: thats what you liberals get...the biggest eyesore and embarrasment in canada. as thatcher said....socialists always make a fiscal mess because they always run out of other peoples money
  50. luis lopez from buenos aires, Argentina writes: Diego from ny city said: 'i don't get why these zombies should be treated with white gloves. they ruin the neighborhood by urinating, defecating, robbing and doing drugs, regardless of their neighbors (young and old). in most countries, criminals go to jail.'

    did they cause the ruin of global economy, too? or was wall street greed? hell, those people in vancouver, like many people in other cities of the world are ill! the cops and jails must be for drug dealers, like mexico politicians and cartel bosses! or argentina and colombia ones.

    round poor, drug adicted and mentally ill people and send to inner country sounds like indian reservations of 18-19 century, well, yes, extermination nazi style camps, is it cold there now, no? why don´t you go a season with them and after tell us how it was?
  51. Scrappy Doo from Canada writes: Treatment for the people mired in this tragic existence is such a difficult and multifaceted thing. It costs alot of money. Some of the ideas posted suggesting that these people be rounded up and moved out of the DTES and into the interior for treatment are perhaps not far off. The logistics are a challenge, but the idea might have some legs.

    Others advocate jail as a 'solution'. Lock them up for 3 months, that will solve the problem. WRONG, sorry M Vatcher. You fail to acknowledge that Canadian jails are perhaps the 2nd easiest place to score drugs (next to the DTES). Jailing addicts as a treatment for addiction is an incredibly useless endeavor that has been shown to fail in almost every single circumstance. An addict will not get clean in jail. It is a fact of life. As long as jails are full of drugs and other addicts, things will get worse not better.
  52. Scrappy Doo from Canada writes: Since when is this issue a 'lefty' or 'hippy' or whatever other pejorative you want to spew, problem? Add something to the discussion, you trolls. Tossing out insults on an internet forum does nothing. Do you have any independent thought, or is this just a partisan issue?

    You goofs sound like senile old men sitting on a porch hollering hatred at random people walking by. At least nobody pays much attention, they know you are just a nutty old coot and so they just walk by - actually doing something and not just complaining.
  53. The Wet One from Edmonchuk, Canada writes: I'm reminded of the saying 'God helps those who help themselves' and 'you can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink' and various other such ditties.

    I suppose it's good that we're a wealthy enough and generous enough nation that we can spend this kind of coin on this kind of endeavour. Human life is priceless after all right? The parents of these folks are probably glad that their children receive such care and attention from us all.

    On the other hand....
  54. bob saunders from Belleville, ON, Canada writes: Stuey D from Canada writes: The DTE is a mental health issue more than a drugs issue, and T, Mac from Victoria I Athink your idea would be a step in the right direction. Back in the early 70's when I came out from working in logging camps we would all meet at the Cecil for beers and pool. Once a pimp approached and offered me a girl. The girl was a native girl from my hometown. I pretented I didn't know her. Later that week I phoned her brother who with several other relatives retreived her and kicked the Sh!t out of the pimp. I saw here many years later and she was healthy and free of drugs. She told me that i saved her life- this of course made me feel great. A huge part of the problem is also abused natives that can't go back home because the absuse at home is worse than the DTES. The problems are concentrated and magnified in the DTES but the causes are from the breakdown in families, society, lack of mental health facility, and biggest of all lack of real work and training opportunities for young people. Can't get a job- sell drugs. My son lives on Vancouver Island where work is almost impossible to find if you are young, and subsidized training opportunity are only for those on EI.
  55. Shank's Pony from Fredericton, Canada writes: They keep focusing on DTSE Vancouver, but it's not the only place. Another cesspool of crack, junk and other drugs, alcoholism and prostitution is Fort McMurray, the holy Tar Sands. There's so many millions of dollars flowing through that economy, and so many isolated, lonely oil workers who have more money than they know what to do with, and so the rate of drug and alcohol abuse and dereliction is sky-high. But no one says a word about that. It's ok because they're working and producing the one 'drug' that we're all addicted to: oil. 'Let the boys have their fun, they deserve it' we say. As well, no one complains about the millions in government subsidies that support the Tar Sands directly and indirectly.
  56. Scott Elliott from Toronto, Canada writes: Spending the money was never really about making any difference. It was about allowing Liberals to feel good about themselves spending other peoples' money.
  57. Mr. A. Right from Vancouver, Canada writes: I first had contact with the area now referred to as the DTES back in 1970 when I first arrived in Vancouver as a 19 years old. I lived on the streets for a few months and got to know this area - unlike most commenters on this situation I actually know what is going on down there. A few weeks ago, I had occasion to drive through that area and it looked virtually unchanged in every way from nearly 40 years ago. It is like a never ending conveyer belt of misery - the lowest expression of human existence. But for the most part - it is self-induced misery, contrary to what the poverty industry trades upon.

    There is a lot of talk that these people (and I use that term loosely- most would barely qualify as human) being mentally ill. Well they are now, after destroying what little brain they started with by years of extreme alcohol and drug abuse. The notion that they wound up in this situation through no fault of their own is mostly untrue. The sad truth is that just as there a few in society that reach great heights and achieve great things that benefit all, there are those who will destroy themselves and create a problem for the rest of us to deal with. It is the Bell Curve of humanity. No amount of money or effort by the well-meaning will change that. In fact, as one who was there, the less help you provide and the more unpleasant you make it, the more likely that at least a few will steer away - as I did.

    Why we tolerate and indeed encourage the congregation of this human blight at the most desirable and valuable real estate in Canada by providing all manor of enabling services is baffling. The same services, particularly housing, could be provided at a fraction of the cost elsewhere.

    As far as the DTES is concerned, spend a day down there and you will get a better understanding of the real situation. Then go back 10 years from now - you will think you where in a time warp.

    Been there - Done that - Got rid of the Tee shirt.
  58. bob saunders from Belleville, ON, Canada writes: Mr. A. Right from Vancouver, Canada writes: I first had contact with the area now referred to as the DTES back in 1970 when I first arrived in Vancouver as a 19 years old. I lived on the streets for a few months and got to know this area - unlike most commenters on this situation I actually know what is going on down there. A few weeks ago, I had occasion to drive through that area and it looked virtually unchanged in every way from nearly 40 years ago. It is like a never ending conveyer belt of misery - the lowest expression of human existence. But for the most part - it is self-induced misery, contrary to what the poverty industry trades upon.------------------------------------------ Absolutely correct with most of what you say- but what to do about it. Got any solutions.
  59. Kevin Desmoulin from TO, Canada writes: I going to put forward some questions, What would have been the cost of doing nothing? How much money as been made over the illegality of drugs? What has been the cost of drug prohibition to our society?
    I am sure in each case the figure is far more then the costs of trying to do something and achieve some benefits too.

    I remind everyone that it takes years to get some where and years to get back. What has happened in Vancouver and these situations and conditions did not take place over night. It is a also a mind set and to us as a people that slowly need to be changed.
    I think it is good ad bad that we see a person taking a hit off a crack pipe, That is reality, it is not good to know that people are sick out there right there this moment, every horror that one think of is happening to some relative degree, but it is good for the fact that is realty and problem here for all in Canada.

    I say give more services across the country, Give people that truly that want to be better a fair chance, give them a safe place to get clean, and then keep them safe until they are strong. Remove them from the environment. IT takes years and it not easy to get clean.
  60. Ken Jensen from val marie, Canada writes: As someone who has past experience in caring for people in mental hospitals and institutions for the mentally impaired it is clear to me that the vast majority I see on the streets of east side vancouver are people who are mentally ill/impaired. Many that were treatable are now permanently impaired through continued drug use and other problems. Add to that, the rarity of stable family units with solid values as well as a population who believe they are entitled to everything results in the problem you see in Vancouver. Institutions should never have been closed. They need to be reopened and many should be forced to live there, not as criminals, but as humans deficient in the skills to manage living on the outside.
  61. Michael S from Canada writes: And, with all this said, another billion or two will still make little or difference. This article reinforces the idea that whether-or-not the Olympics was a good idea and whether-or-not the same monies could have been better spent on the homeless (and other social ilks) are nuts.

    How many billions will need to be spent before the bleeding-heart socialists realize that the East Side with its 'issues' will always be there?

    And, as a taxpayer, I'm sick and tired of our tax monies being totally wasted this way.
  62. David Simon from Canada writes: Any destructive behavior that is tolerated (drug 'courts') or even actively encouraged (Insite) you'll get more of.
  63. Xcountry Islander from Canada writes: e m from vancouver: you ask why we're KEEPING them there. No one is keeping them. They are our fellow humans - individuals, and we must respect what little choice they have left in life.
    People CARE for them in that location, and so that is where they stay. If it weren't for some people's CARING, these folks would be dead.

    There is a recent peer-reviewed article in the Canadian Medical Assoc Journal by Bayoumic & Zaric (2008) that says InSite has saved 1070 life years in the past 10 years. 1070 years!! How many lifetimes is that!!! Then times 1070 X many thousands of years that each persons mother&father&siblings&friends can carry on living without having lost a loved one.

    It's expensive because we're keeping people with a lot of persistent health problems alive for longer. But imagine if you had a son or daughter who ended up there. What would you rather do: 1) have them struggle, but get by, with dignity to spare 2) or just have them die thanks to forces beyond their control.

    Humanity is as strong as its weakest link. The question is, is our weakest link our %cohort of sick and fragile folks, OR is it our % of compassion-less, technology-addicted, money-driven, cold-hearted assholes...

    Idunno about you, but I vote for preserving compassion in the human race. I think Canada can be proud of its work in the eastside. It may be one ugly, sad, trophy, but not compared to a pile of corpses.
  64. diana diana from Toronto, Canada writes: I give kudos to all levels of governments and all the people who have been working on this issue in Vancouver. It is very disheartening to see that for all this dedication the problem still exists or has become worse. The only thing left to do is legalize drugs and prostitution to at least remove the criminal element and only concentrate on the human aspect. I have two members of my family who were heroin addicts on the east side - they moved back to Ontario 10 years ago - they are still addicts - committing crimes and harassing the public. They were given every chance on the face of the earth with no success. It is just the way it is I have accepted the fact.
  65. Squish_a_p From BC from Canada writes: Mr. A. Right from Vancouver seems to think he knows it all.......I too have been in the DTES, as have many other posters here. Your opinion of those that 'barely qualify as human', in your words, shows your lack of intelligence on the matter. While you are entitled to your opinion, your lack of compassion demonstrates just how little you really know.
  66. Salazar Palomar from HarperCons tried to buy Cadman's vote -- compare Crim Code s 119, Canada writes: .

    I always assumed Vancouver created the slum in the Downtown East Side on purpose, as a sort of 'local colour' offering.

    Now they don't want it anymore?
  67. Norbert Kraft from Canada writes: This is another example of the colossal boondoggle known as the 'war on drugs' which is basically a trough for law enforcement, the justice system and social services and a contributing factor to the corruption of civil liberties.
    Has anyone figured out how much money we spend on the enforcement of drug laws vs. the number of addicts we have?
    The amount of $$ per addict is probably in the millions by now
    The figures are already inferred in this article.
    Legalise prostitution and have it regulated as a profession, decriminalise/legalise marijuana and tax it and put all addictive drugs under the Health Act and prescribe heroin to addicts in regulated surroundings.
    Switzerland did it and had an almost immediate 60% drop in petty crime.
    J. Edgar Hoover refused to allow the FBI to get involved with drug interdiction because of the corrupting influence of so much money.
    There were only 2 sectors that make money from the illegal drug trade; the traffickers and law enforcement/lawyers...now you can include social services and developers.
  68. Squish_a_p From BC from Canada writes: Norbert Kraft, excellent points!
  69. Reasoned Analysis from Vancouver, Canada writes: .

    The best answer to this problem is really quite simple. And the best solution is also the most humane and cost effective. It has three steps.

    Step one: Make a law so that people must have a documented home address to be allowed to be walking on the streets Vancouver.

    That address could, in the case of a vacationer, be a documented home address in Ottawa or Seattle or Tokyo.

    Step two: Do not keep inside Vancouver any subsidized housing buildings for the poor who are jobless.

    That makes sense financially, because Vancouver is THE most expensive place in Canada to be housing and feeding people. The rental value per square foot of building is the highest there.

    Step three: Place the buildings for housing and rehabilitating the poor and jobless far away from there.

    Place them out in the country where there is fresh air and no drug dealers and where the rent is low and where the food is grown locally. Spend a lot of money there so that they have clean facilities and good counseling and health care and good food.

    That's it. Problem solved. The police walk around on patrol in the Vancouver neighborhoods, not harassing people, but paying attention to people. When they become suspicious, like this is the fourth night in a row they've seen the guy with the vomit-stained coat sleeping on the same park bench, they ask for his address documentation.

    If he does not have any, he is taken to the central processing center in Vancouver for more careful assessment. If it is determined there that he has no documented address and is jobless and poor, he is sent to one of the countryside centers described above.

    That is the only solution that will clean up the area. It is humane and cost effective. All the other suggestions by others on this board will be more expensive and less helpful to everybody.
  70. San Tomas from Canada writes: Debra Burkhardt from Delta, Canada writes: $26000/person/year isn't much
    Posted 14/02/09 at 12:40 AM EST | Alert an Editor | Link to Comment
    -----------------------------------------------------------
    Not much? My wife and I live quite comfortably on less than that amount.
    A definite solution to the drug problem would be to round up the dealers (pushers) and drop them off in the middle of the Arctic with just a backpack so they can survive for a week or two. The message would get out in a hurry. If some lawyer thinks that is cruel and unusual punishment, then the gov't can contract out the housing of these inmates and their lawyers to a third world country at a far less cost to us. These countries can certainly use the money.
    It appears that the situation in the DTES is all talk and no action. Too many 'Executive Directors' and not enough workers to assist in fixing the problems.
    Secondly, reopen the Mental Institutions that one poster said were closed by the NDP in the 90's. We didn't have the rampant problem when the Institutions were in operation.
  71. Kim Morton from Canada writes: We could have easily squandered the entire Olympic budget,highways and transit included on the DES and had nothing to show for it. Some of the problems there are directly related to the stupid idea of treating addiction as a crime instead of a medical condition. Some are hell bent to commit suicide by drug /alcohol abuse. Many are the result of well meaning but naive do gooders closing mental hospitals on the grounds that we were denying these people the right to run loose. Unfortunately many of these people require constant attention because they simply are not capable of looking after themselves. All we have really accomplished is create a money pit and a job creation project for a bunch of social workers that have no real interest in change as it would affect their income.
  72. Sports Fan from Canada writes: Something really needs to be done. I still remember the time my wife and I went to Vancouver for a vacation. We tried to walk down Robson Street to take in the stores and cafes but every few feet we were faced with a panhandler in our face. When we tried to walk around them they would yell and swear at us. The same happened while we were trying to walk around the boutiques in Gas Town.I contacted the tourist bureau to complain and was informed that they were aware of the problem but could not do anything about it.

    Friends of ours warned us not to go near certain downtown street for fear of being harpooned with a junkies needle yet I understand that the city provides free needles and the junk to fill them with. We were warned about using the Sky Train and even to be careful going to an ATM machine.

    That was 5 years ago now and things seem to have gone down hill. I know we will not be back again.

    I pity the poor Olympic visitors that will be coming in 2910. Maybe the City ought to think bout offering these street people a job at the games but there is definitely a big problem there. I think it called Core Rot.
  73. Babbleon ! from Canada writes: All governments reek with incompetence,they mismanage are lazy and wasteful.
    Did you expect anything different ?
  74. Steve Tiberius from Canada writes: Kim Morton from Canada writes: We could have easily squandered the entire Olympic budget,highways and transit included on the DES and had nothing to show for it. Some of the problems there are directly related to the stupid idea of treating addiction as a crime instead of a medical condition.

    ------------------------
    We'd rather throw gobs of money into the pit than admit to the huge mistake that is drug prohibition. That's how much it costs when your citizens are undereducated on the effects of our drug policies, and those policies are disastrous.
  75. Ontario Man from Canada writes: double mike from Canada writes: .

    The only solution to the drugs problem is legalization of soft drugs.

    -----------------------

    Heroin is not a soft drug, hence your comment adds nothing to the discussion about problems found in Vancouver East Side.

    Now go back to smoking pot, and let the people who have not burned out their brain try to come up with a workable solution.
  76. Reasoned Analysis from Vancouver, Canada writes: .

    Regarding the three-step solution to the problem that I posted at 10:03 am, some additional comments are provided, as follows, to address some of the political activists who have posted on this board.

    Some folks claim that the solution is to legalize soft drugs.

    That claim is false. Sure, you could legalize marijuana and have it sold at a low price from local pharmacies, the same way cigarettes are sold. Go ahead. But that will not solve the problem there.

    There are thousands of poor people there who are mentally and/or psychiatrically compromised who are jobless. Your choice to legalize marijuana does not address that problem.

    Some other folks claim that the solution is to provide free, through local pharmacies, heroin and morphine and crack and xtacy.

    That claim is false. Sure, you could do those things. Go ahead. But that will not solve the problem there.

    There are thousands of poor people there who are mentally and/or psychiatrically compromised who are jobless. Your choice do those things with the pharmacies does not address that problem. You will still wind up with jobless people, stoned or not, laying in the streets next to puddles of their own urine.

    The three step solution that I outlined earlier is the only humane and cost effective solution.

    .

  77. Ontario Man from Canada writes: E M from Vancouver, Canada writes:

    You want to fix the problem? EASY!

    Round them all up, move them up to place in the interior where NO ONE lives, put them in housing, put a farm or something around them, and clean them up.

    No pimps around them, no drug dealers, nothing but nature, doctors, and nurses.

    -----------------------------------

    I think that is the only real solution. Drug addicts are sick, mentally sick, and should be incarcerated until healed by the medical system.

    Safe injection sites, free housing, free food, are all enablers to drug addiction. Those who lobby for these free services have as much blood on their hands as the drug dealers.
  78. Western Clods from Vancouver, Canada writes:
    T_Mac's post above has it right. The key to fixing this problem begins by DECENTRALIZING all of the social housing and agencies from the downtown and to spread them throughout Metro Vancouver.

    By spreading it out, you can accomplish so many things:

    - You de-normalize criminal and anti-social behaviour by removing the social networks that make such behaviour acceptable.

    - you give people who are mentally ill a safe haven from the people who prey on them.

    - Those who just need social housing are able to live in normal neighbourhoods where they are safe and often able to better their lot in life. This already works brilliantly in the West End, where there's already a lot of social housing.

    - You remove the centralized market of customers for the drug trade.

    - You neuter the political power base that preys on the people of the Downtown Eastside. Organizations like DERA and Carnegie Action Committee work hard to perpetuate the poverty of the Downtown Eastside in order to save their own funding and jobs.

    No society has ever defeated poverty and homelessness by centralizing it. It's time that we did the right thing, and take back what was once the heart of our downtown. We do it by lifting people up to society's standards, and not dragging our city down the DTES' standards.
  79. Right Winger from Canada writes: This is a prime example of tossing $ at problems isn't always a solution.
    Those people make their choices in life and it's impossible to help someone that doesn't want help, that doesn't even want to help themselves. And spending 10 billion on the problem won't do any good.
    That money would have been better spent on daycare, social housing and the elderly. The people that try to make a better life for themselves, not some crackhead that uses the system to get their next hit.
    Cut the spending, toss them all into a cave somewhere and let them do what they want. The druggies, hookers and drug dealers get zero sympathy from me. They made their choice in life, so let them live it until they had enough. We have lots of social programs now to help those that want and need it.
  80. David Russell from Toronto, Canada writes: 'It is the Bell Curve of humanity.'

    Great line. As someone who's seen people descend into this lifestyle and struggle against it, I can attest to the myriad of defects and tragic upbringings these people have. They are simply born without much hope of getting through life successfully. They are going to need help. Henry Miller said it best:

    'Every man is working out his destiny in his own way and nobody can be of help except by being kind, generous and patient.'

    I agree with one commenter that said that a slum is a visual reminder of failure. They exist in every city. The problem with Vancouver is that theirs has become Canada's slum. It's sustained and proliferated, exacerbated by a steady flow of cheap and deadly drugs. The drugs literally take over and make it impossible for people to be civilians. They become cretinous parasites. They despise themselves and lose all accountability. Tougher penalties has not worked in the USA but it has in Asia. There's no easy answer but so long as there is a steady stream of affordable crack/heroin/meth the problems will get worse, especially as our economy declines.
  81. Lucas McCain from San Francisco de Macoris, Dominican Republic writes: You can spend all the money you want on this problem, but until this type of individual decides to change this way of life, nothing is going to happen. Success for every person in our society, is limited only by his or her own ability and his or her own dream.

    It is like the useless 'War On Drugs', the key is the customer not the provider. No customers=no providers. Unless you have an IQ under 30 or born completely retarded you know that drugs will kill and destroy lives.

    They have chosen this lifestyle, why should my tax dollars be spent on providing them with clean needles and free drugs or anything else?

    These individuals have to be held accountable for their actions not me. They are the cause of their own problems.

    In our society, we have choices, and we should have to live with these choices and not expect someone else to pick up the tab.
  82. Western Clods from Vancouver, Canada writes:
    I think it's also worth mentioning that this area was never called the 'Downtown Eastside' until a group of fund-seeking activists called it that in the mid-1980s.

    Before that, Vancouverites referred to this area as 'Downtown'.
  83. Old Timer from Timmins, Canada writes: Bingo.

    The guy who has the solution correct is the person called 'Reasoned Analysis from Vancouver' in his or her two posts.

    Right on the money, Reasoned Analysis: A lot of the other proposals on this board are simply misguided failures that would continue to hurt people by only feeding the problem rather than fixing the problem.
  84. J.C. Davies from Canada writes:
    Money is not the solution, it's the problem.

    The best way to promote certain activity is to subsidize. By throwing money at the Eastside all the authorities have done is to promote the very activities they're seeking to curb (though it cannot be denied that for many of the pro-drug lobby there is no intent or desire to reduce drug use, instead the focus is on making drug taking safer, which has caused more problems than its solved).
  85. Jamie Reed from Canada writes: Every time the Vancouver's East side is in the news, the debate about the 'safe' injection sites reignites. I've said over and over in various blogs that you cannot solve a problem by becoming an enabler. In other words giving addicts a place to inject, giving them clean needles, and supervising them while they shoot up really just says - 'hey, we have no problem with what you're doing - we just want you to be safe while doing it'. This is the wrong message. Instead we should be saying 'the stuff you're putting into your body is poisonous, we will not aid you in killing yourself slowly but we will help you kick the habit by moving into our drug treatment facility'. The money spent on this ridiculous 'harm reduction' strategy, which is wholly endorsed by the left, should be spent drug treatment centres where we try to get people off drugs. Pushers and pimps should go to jail for a long time. The problem in Vancouver's East will continue to get worse if the political left continues to push its agenda - addicts, however, would not be attracted to a 'tough love' approach where we are serious about treatment for those addicted and punishment for those exploit the afflicted for personal gain. We tried giving 'clean' needles in Ottawa and while AIDs and Hep C rates levelled off slightly, the numbers of addicts and homelessness tripled. Now we have more people than ever addicted to drugs and roaming our streets. You don't have to believe me - CTV's W5 recently aired a program said exactly that.
  86. Voice of Reason from Ottawa, Canada writes: A major part of the problem is the Toronto party of Canada, trying to run one its hinterland satelite posts from within the Toronto headquarters. Who can forget the idot Stroumboulopoulos just outside Calgary in 2005 when Harper won, introducing Torontians to Calgary. Like Calgary is a region outside of Canada and it is foreign to its audience.
  87. Dennis sinneD from Calgary, Canada writes:

    TOLD YA!
  88. james greystone from Canada writes: western clods - vancouver was my hometown where i grew up. 'downtown' was main and hastings about a hundred years ago, when i lived there that area was always called skid row. downtown was in the granville and georgia area.
    don't know where it is now, and don't really care. vancouver has the mild climate to attract lots of rats who like to sleep wherever they want.
    if they razed that entire area and left it, in about two months it would be an enormous garbage dump with the denizens wallowing in the mud.
    put it on a raft and set it adrift, somewhere in the arctic.
  89. Yvonne Wackernagel from Woodville, Canada writes: It is human nature; if people know that there is a place to hang out, do drugs and get help when needed, they will always come. Find a bit of WILDERNESS, put up some 65 degrees heated buildings, provide SOME food and let them fend for themselves. I'll bet you that some will smarten up and no others will be atttracted to the place. A doctor can visit once a month and just help those who are trying to help themselves.
  90. Anyone but Ignatieff; Rae and LeBlanc. or Duceppe for the new Liberal Leader. from Canada writes: It's a product of NDP & Liberals socialist policy. People are not encouraged or taught to make the right choices. Instead the left wing politicians likeare coddled and fed drugs. It's a sickening. This is the produvt of NDP Jack Layton & Libby Davies policies.
  91. M Whaley from Ontario, Canada writes: Most of you who propose rounding them up and shipping them for rehabilitation elsewhere sound an awful like the original plan for jewish citizens during world war 2. And we all know how that turned out!

    Think about it.
  92. My Name is Jack and Iggy Can't Be Trusted from Black Mud Creek, Canada writes: nothing can be done- governments have decided they do not want to be seen as uncompassionate or hardline a long time ago as not to offend the voter.

    As soon as a politician talks tough all the socialists come out and shut him down-can you imagine the protests and riots if they tried to round these people up

    sadly this problem was allowed to grow out of control -it is too late to stop it in any socially acceptable manner- it will contine to be a money pit and spread unchecked
  93. Lyn Alg from Canada writes: Normally, the hard numbers that are obtainable are about 50% of the actual figures. In reality, the total spent is closer to 3 billion dollars. So just where did this money disappear to? It sounds to me that it has been funneled into a group of politicians' pockets. It certainly wasn't spent on the downtown eastside or there would be some physical proof. Like all major cities, most politicians are bandits who are in politics to line their pockets. For proof, look at what has been transpiring in the U.S. and in Canadian federal and provincial politics - Adscam, Saskatchewan back in the mid 1980's and the Grant Devine government (most of his Ministers went to prison), Mike Harris in Ontario, Joey Smallwood in Nfld, etc. I once conducted a research into the background of politicians. Guess what, folks. The majority came from the legal profession and teaching. Certainly speaks volumes about those two professions, n'est-ce pas? '..oh, please, I didn't do it. The devil made me do it; I'm innocent...' Ya right, SCUMBAGS !
  94. Moishe Alexander from Thornhill, Canada writes: To give addicts free needles is like helping to to kill them.What the BC government needs to do to help these people is to fund rehab centres that operate only under the 12 steps to recovery of AA/CA. This is the only road to recovery that works. But first the Addicts must hit bottom that means tough love,no needles,welfare or housing. They need to be brought to the point that they have to get clean and want to get clean.All the other programs that promote less use and methadone only enable an addict not start the road to recovery.Addiction is a disease of compulsive actions and obsessive behavure that the addict can control unless they understand it and and have the 12 step recovery in there life to balance their lives. This is what the government needs to do to deal with this problem. They should not waste tax payors money to try and say they are doing somthing just to keep getting elected.
  95. Stephen McPherson from Newmarket, Canada writes: Ms. Letty was right on the mark. We are failing miserably at preventing these people from skidding onto the downward slope. Our right wing laws and attitudes to poverty, mental illness and drugs are really hampering any progress. People need hope and opportunity, but our greedy society continues to bypass more and more people in the name of capitalism. Robin Hood had it right. We need to tax the hell out of the rich and their empires. They have not and are not contributing their fair share to the social mosaic. We also have to recognize that mental illness is not temporary; it is chronic. These people need various levels of care and support. Our current approach to close all mental hospitals and kick the patients out onto the streets has only created more street people. Prohibition on alcohol was a dismal failure. Prohibition on drugs - the so called war on drugs - is also a dismal failure. The time has come for a different approach. Consideration needs to be given to legalizing a large portion of drugs and decriminalizing the remainder. Sell the stuff along side alcohol and tax the hell out of it. Put the money directly into health care and education. One of the primary reasons our health care systems are so stressed is because we are currently footing bill for all the outfall from illegal drug use, but the revenues are going to the criminals. Let's shut them down. Full stop. This the real change we need in our society. Enough with the specious political dross from both sides of the political spectrum.
  96. Old blue from Canada writes: There is no solution...throwing money at the problem won't solve anything.
    I'm more concerned about cities like misguided Ottawa local politicians who come up with new taxpayer funded programs like free crack pipes and needles for any that request them proudly thinking that they're actually helping people.
  97. you can leave here for 4 days in space but when you return it's the same old place from Canada writes: David Russell from Toronto, Canada writes: Henry Miller said it best:

    'Every man is working out his destiny in his own way and nobody can be of help except by being kind, generous and patient.'.....in other words:

    ' I've seen the needle and the damage done...a little part of it in everyone..'
  98. The Money Ain't For Nothing from Toronto, Canada writes: Lyn Alg from Canada writes >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    Lyn, while I don't defend politicans.................you state that Joey Smallwood and Mike Harris had lined their pockets...........can you please provide any examples?
  99. Lyn Alg from Canada writes: I would suggest that the feds and the provincial governments conduct an audit to trace the funds. I would bet that it would lead to many 'offshore' bank accounts - held by the street people who live on the streets of downtown eastside, of course - LOL !
  100. r b from Calgary, Canada writes: As I pass these wrecked humans day after day in downtown Calgary, it is difficult to imagine a time when they were once rosy cheeked youngsters, bouncing on their mom's knee or toddling along in the freshness of the springtime of their lives.

    On the few occasions when I succumb to the pangs of guilt and throw out a few coins, I have to remind myself that perhaps I should just cut out the 'middleman' addict and just give that money directly to the pusher - which is surely where the money will go to.

    An acquaintance once told me that she became so exhausted with her efforts at helping these people that it affected her own health: until she arrived at the conclusion that only a very, very few can ever be helped, and only when they finally reach the rock bottom realization that THEY themselves truly want to changes their lives.

    Just keep a light on for those few: anything else is wasted effort.

  101. charles ANTHONY from Canada writes: Too many bureaucrats creaming the issue and money. This is about a system that is systemically broken. We have these so called educacated social engineers who never accomplish anything. So much taxpayer money given to bad managers to achieve nothing. Time for a big change!
  102. Dale Brown from Victoria, Canada writes: Some people need to be institutionalized which in some cases means incarceration. The alternative notion that people should be placed in the community does not work - for one big reason: community does not exist in an urban society. Instead people congregate in places like the Downtown Eastside which provide the services that they need. There is a need to rebuild those types of institutions which have been closed down in the last forty years - often for ulterior reasons since many of these places like Woodlands and Riverdale were located in highly desirable redevelopment areas. Secondly, there is a need to once again use legal compulsion - under provincial statutes like the Mental Health Act and federal stattutes like the Criminal Code. Legal compulsion under the Mental Health Act is still used but oddly enough only in the case of old people. It is up to legislators to bravely overrule the personal rights extremists who inhabit the judicial system. Finally places like the Downtown Eastside simply need to be abolished - let redevelopment take its course and the ten or so blocks of the Downtown Eastside would be gone within ten years. And let's be honest about it. A big chunk of the billions supposedly spent on the Downtown Eastside ends up in the pockets of nice, middle class people - judges, policemen, social workers, church ministers, bureaucrats and others whose raison d'etre is built around the area's existence. It's the nature of things - every problem does acquire those who have a (invariably unadmitted) vested interest in perpetuating it.
  103. Old blue from Canada writes: Lyn Alg from Canada writes: Normally, the hard numbers that are obtainable are about 50% of the actual figures. In reality, the total spent is closer to 3 billion dollars. So just where did this money disappear to? It sounds to me that it has been funneled into a group of politicians' pockets. It certainly wasn't spent on the downtown eastside or there would be some physical proof. Like all major cities, most politicians are bandits who are in politics to line their pockets. For proof, look at what has been transpiring in the U.S. and in Canadian federal and provincial politics - Adscam, Saskatchewan back in the mid 1980's and the Grant Devine government (most of his Ministers went to prison), Mike Harris in Ontario, Joey Smallwood in Nfld, etc.

    ------------------------------------------------------------------

    Even if your farfetched thoughts were true moving even more cash to the problem would have virtually no positive effect.
  104. The Money Ain't For Nothing from Toronto, Canada writes: Apu Nahasapeemapetilon from Vancouver, Canada writes>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>.

    Apu, a couple of weeks ago re an article here in the G&M that 13 of 800 plus school buses in NFld did not meet safety condition and you were very vocal in condeming NFLD and how the goverment there were negilent in taking care of its citizens etc. Do you now have any words of advice for your BC politicans?
  105. p h from Canada writes: I agree with George Smiley. I have worked around the homeless and addicted for many years and have come to the following conclusions.
    1. The healthcare system has failed Canadians who are dealing with mental illness.
    2. People need to realize that there is a segment of our population that will NEVER be able to get their lives together. No matter how much money or time you throw at them they will not change. They will always be homeless or addicted to some degree and need someone else to manage their lives.
    3. Law enforcement is not the answer to homelessness or the drug problem. These are social problems that need to be solved by social agencies. Quit asking the police to solve this problem.
    4. Social agencies need to get real and stop treating every homeless or drug addicted person as a victim. I will freely admit that there are people who are homeless for completely legitimate reasons, however there is a significant portion of the homeless population that are simply homeless because they know they can get a free meal everyday, free housing at night, free health care, free razors, free etc. as this globe article shows. These are the ones that need to be cut off so that the legitimate people can actually get the help they need.

    The solution to this problem is only going to come about when we get some leaders who are willing to call a spade a spade and make some tough unpopular decisions. These decisions are going to have to involve the breach of individual rights which always gets the left side up in arms. So until we get one of those leaders I'm afraid they are just going to keep throwing money at the problem and hope it goes away, at least until they get promoted or retire.
  106. Western Clods from Vancouver, Canada writes:

    Dale Brown...well said.

    Let's add to that social housing spread out amongst the neighbourhoods and municipalities, instead of centralizing these complexes all in one place.
  107. Lyn Alg from Canada writes: Re The Money Ain't for Nothing: You're correct 'Money..', my apologies. I should not have included Harris nor Smallwood. There were simply rumours at the time.
  108. double mike from Canada writes: Ontario Man from Canada writes:
    Heroin is not a soft drug, hence your comment adds nothing to the discussion about problems found in Vancouver East Side.

    Now go back to smoking pot, and let the people who have not burned out their brain try to come up with a workable solution.

    ========================================
    I'm sorry you can't connect two dots five inches apart. Just FYI I don't smoke pot. I don't even drink except an occasional can of beer.
    It's a nice thing to
    .
  109. russell olausen from edmonton, Canada writes: Somebody should tell the author that those skidders have politics too.I was there in January and witnessed a confrontation between police and the homeless.It looked like a turf war once all the social worker ,nice definitions were stripped away.By the way ,the free lunch lineup was about a block long.There are some structural similarities to the G aza deal.Most likely, the solution will be similar,loosely speaking that is.CANCEL the OLYMPICS,save yourselves the grief.
  110. Western Clods from Vancouver, Canada writes:
    The Olympics are coming whether you like it or not. It has ZERO to do with the DTES.
  111. Linda WS from TO, Canada writes: p h - People don't want to face facts. Those who inhabit Crack Alley or live elsewhere in Van are mentally ill. In the 19th century institutions were built to house them. Today if some suggest that option they are ridiculed for attempting to interfere in free will. Addictions are symptoms of mental illness and this is a good topic for discussion as it affects all Canadians not just BC residents.
  112. Uncle Fester from Canada writes:
    I spent many years on the front lines working directly with addicts. Heroin addicts, cocaine addicts, alcoholics, pot heads, huffers, bomber pilots, and speed freaks. I have watched many die, some slowly, some brutally fast.

    The government could tripple or quadruple the money they are flushing down the toilet there. It won't make any difference.

    These people are not hanging out in the streets sticking needles in their arms because they are looking for social programs.........they are there to get high.
  113. Dee B from Canada writes: THROUGH A BLUE LENS....NFB film by cops in DTES........should be shown every other year to kids from grade 6(?) to grade 12
  114. Uncle Fester from Canada writes:
    The warm loving hand of liberal social justice reaches down into the toilet on the lower east side and comes up empty.

    It isn't 1968 any longer Toto, flower power is dead.
  115. Vic Vegas from Vancouver, Canada writes: The area is a failed social experiment, an ongoing horror show prolonged by the social scientists who keep trying to fix things with methods that are proven failures. The enormous whack of cash that exits the area every hour in the form of drug profits is the single reason for the area's existence. Those who control the dope and those who own all of the real estate in the zone are hell-bent on keeping the feel-good followers of failed social programs in business trying to offset the devastating effects of tonnes of heroin with idiotic solutions like injection sites. Close down the dopers, seize the property of offending participants and block this leaky port that allows in such huge quantities of drugs and you may make a dent. For those who have never seen this area of the country, it is a scene right out of a zombie movie. Saddest piece of urban wasteland in Canada. They cart nearly two bodies a day out of the DTE and nobody has the guts to bust the people who control it.
  116. Anti Fascist from Canada writes: Gordochio's fault!
    The fiberals blew it again, but what do you expect? Leaving those fat pigs in charge of so much dough can only result in waste and loss.

    I am looking forward to turfing Gordochio and his secretive fiberal band, I am looking forward to the criminal proceedings which will surely follow.

    Will the Grant Devine government of cons in Saskatchewan retain the title of most politicians convicted or will the Gordochio Campbell regime of fiberals oust them?
    And doesn't it bring a warm glow to the cockles of your heart to see Canwest heading for financial disaster?
  117. Bob Loblaw from Bahamas writes:
    Western Clods from Vancouver, Canada writes:
    I think it's also worth mentioning that this area was never called the 'Downtown Eastside' until a group of fund-seeking activists called it that in the mid-1980s.

    Before that, Vancouverites referred to this area as 'Downtown'.

    No, before that Vancouverites called it Skid Row.
  118. Earl Anthony from Sudbury, Canada writes: I think we have to separate the homeless into two groups with different needs: drug addicts and the mentally ill.

    The mentally ill used to be helped adjust to society after treatment by halfway houses that provided a system of support. This was done away with in the 1980's and suddenly homeless began appearing in the parks and downtown areas of our cities. THe answer here is simple: bring back the halfway houses.

    As for drug addicts I have no real solution. In Edinborough, Scotland they were given free drugs in return for counselling. It was found that about 10 percent best their addictions while 10 percent newaddicts entered the program. At least the violence and crime asociated with the addicts was curtailed.

    All I know is that keeping them on the street does not help them and creates problems for everybody else.
  119. bob saunders from Belleville, ON, Canada writes: Anti Fascist from Canada writes: Gordochio's fault!
    The fiberals blew it again, but what do you expect? Leaving those fat pigs in charge of so much dough can only result in waste and loss.----------------- The various NDP governments both provincial and municipal did squat to fix the problem, in fact they made it worse.
  120. Anti Fascist from Canada writes:
    If you were to go down to Seattle you might learn something from their methods, homeless people get housing and support real fast, it saves bundles of cash and time elsewhere. What they are doing is what we should be doing.

    But no we have to continue with the business model of the fibs and the cons. Make no mistake the dtes is there to profit someone. As it is huge sums of monies have been spent, and the only bright spot that I see is the safe injection site, which save lives and helps lost people on the road to re-humanisation.

    Take the business model out of social services I say.
  121. Alban Leurk from Ottawax, Canada writes: 'Debra Burkhardt from Delta, Canada writes: $26000/person/year isn't much' Really? you must be making lots of money doing nothing if that free dough seems not much for you? What's next $1million bucks per person per year? Why not hey? That's likely not YOUR money: http://www.parl.gc.ca/information/library/PRBpubs/prb0707-e.htm As per Table 1: The top 1% of earners earned 11% of total income and paid 21% of taxes collected. The top 5% of earners earned 24% of total income and paid 39% of taxes collected. The top 10% of earners earned 35% of total income and paid 53% of taxes collected. The top 25% of earners earned 58% of total income and paid 78% of taxes collected. The top 50% of earners earned 83% of total income and paid 96%* of taxes collected. Ergo, the bottom *50%* of wage earners only paid *4% of taxes. Who's getting the free ride? Of course they come from Montreal or Regina... although with the latest global warming Vancouver is not as comfy as it used to be... snow and colder than average is a drag. Money will not do the trick if these people do not want a change. In the end a guy who had an audit on his taxes had less rights than the drug pushers... that says it all about how skewed Canada is. What's wrong with nature, a piece of land to work? Or is it that the idea of work is worse than all the drugs they inject? We are talking about few thousand people here, the capacity of the Orpheum theater for X sake! It is time to treat them as what they are not: responsible adults. decisions have to be made for them and they take what society offers them -nature, a farmland, some woods to clean up their act-. Period. When they'll show some level of responsibility then it will be worth bringing them back. But unless they do the first step, trillions of dollars won't do the job. And I'd rather spend my taxes for a proper health care facilities than wasting it on their lazyness.
  122. Anti Fascist from Canada writes: Bob, you are wrong. What made it worse was more people coming who's only alternative back home was to freeze in the dark. Not to mention the shameful policies of giving destitute people in Calgary one way tickets to Vancouver. How come eastern communities can't look after their own? How come Vancouver has to put them up? Should Vancouver start shipping them back to the places where they came from? I can assure you that the majority are not from Vancouver nor BC, they are your sons and daughters as well, is this how you would have society treat your family? Oh, I'm sorry you seem to be fiberal supporter.
  123. Somethingessential LostinBC from Canada writes: Humanity, not Vancouver, has been fighting addiction to reality altering substances since humanity. NO society that I have ever heard of has not had a problem. Often not documented perhaps, but there nonetheless. Alcohol, marijuana, opium etc, have been used for millenia, unless you are one of the few that believe heroin was invented in Vancouver. Socities have always had their share of abusers. However, the real problem seems to start when a society criminilizes these substances. All of a sudden there is an ILLEGAL demand for these products, which bring the criminals into the distribution. Now there is real money to be made, and the more addictive the substance the more money. Based on this, I feel safe in saying that as long as there are thoses who want drugs, and serious amounts of money to be made supplying it, the problem will not go away no matter what is tried. Round them all up tomorrow and either shoot them or give them 1 million dollars apiece, either way, the streets will be full again in a week. The left leaning thinking of trying so desperately to help these poor folks can be no more successful then the 'lock em all up on an island' right leaning thinking. THESE PEOPLE THERE TODAY ARE NOT THE PROBLEM. they are just the visible symptom of the problem. I do not profess to know the answer, but will feel secure in stating that the methods we are employing are not now, nor has never worked. If any law enforcement official or politician ANYWHERE, could give me one VALID example of where prohibition has actually worked, let them speak now or maybe at least start trying to formulate a plan 'B'.
  124. Alban Leurk from Ottawax, Canada writes: Vic Vegas, right on! Someone profits from this mess otherwise it would not have continued that long... Move the crowd to solid rehab. in the woods, get the mentally ills proper care, and prosecute the headmasters who profit. Otherwise, it's just like the Hells Angels saga... keep rolling and rolling and rolling...
  125. Alban Leurk from Ottawax, Canada writes: So legalize every drug is the solution? So for 2500 you'd legalize drugs for 32million? Woaw. That's policy.
  126. billy weathers from toronto, Canada writes: i lived in van for a while the powers to be who live in kerrisadle and kits dont want a solution to the east end otherwise it would have been done along time ago reminds me of charles dickens oliver twist
    movie we will always have are poor talk a great story but nothin happens
    live in europe major cities
    never see this cleaned up
    why because the powers to be want it that way- in van
    same poeple in charge same talk nothin done same old same old sad
    but true same a native stuff lot of talk but no action
    its calle dwe got our dough see you later alligator
  127. little bowpeep from Only in Canada, Canada writes: With those high salaries, it probably paid for a bunch of civil servants. Way to go government, don't help the people just spend spend spend.
  128. Zarny YYC from Calgary, Canada writes: Good grief. What a complete waste of money. You can't make this stuff up. $1.4 billion and nothing to show for it.

    The kinder, softer, gentler approach...doesn't work. 14% completion rate? Abysmal.

    I'm not advocating a crack down on addicts or longer prison sentences; but rehap isn't working. Hugs and a pat on the head saying it will be alright isn't working.

    What clown spends $14.4 million renovating a building to get 44 suites?

    Atco trailers people. Cheap and they have a bed junkies can pass out on.

    Partner up with Habitat For Humanity and simply build more units for about 1/10th the price.

    Simply amazing the amount of waste and degree of inefficiency and ineffectiveness that is tolerated when public funding and social causes are involved.
  129. dan vanman from Canada writes: The only people posting here should be Vancouverites, as we know the story. Smug, self congrats from T.O people is not helping.

    I have lived here for over 20 years, and lived down there for 5 years.

    Yes, there is a drug and crime problem.

    But the biggest problem is all these enabling agencies that think they are helping.

    The people down there laugh at you, poor generous types.

    They are mostly users and losers, and only want to take whatever the taxpayer can be guilted into giving them.

    These agencies must realize that these people use them. They must put some conditions on their help to target those that want to change, not the users.

    BTW...the ROC should be made to pay their share. A great many of these people are street types from other cities...as Vancouver is the only major city in canada, except Victoria, where you can live on the street in the winter without dying from exposure.

    So, all you smug commenters should realize that you have a hand in this problem too.

    Peace
  130. K L from Montreal in spirit, Canada writes: Another good reason to NOT close Riverview.
  131. Alastair james Berry from Canada writes: The problems will continue until the supply of drugs is legalized and regulated. Sure now, and I will admit that a lot of money has been spent on 'improvements' but as the article describes the DRUG SCENE is virtually unchanged, AND SO IS THE PROBLEM! Can nobody see the linkage? IT IS THIS DRUG SCENE THAT HAS SUCKED MANY MORE $ BILLIONS OUT OF THE D T E S! These poor broken individuals are preyed upon not only by the organized (often ethnically) supply gangs who are after the large pool of unaccountable cash that the poor and indigent rake together by pan handling, petty theft,dumpster diving and prostitution. But these same poor and indigent also support armies of police, social workers, lawyers, the court system and prison guards. Drugs are dirt cheap Heroin in a legal ampoule is worth less than $1 (if legal morphine is only $0.34 ampoule for hospitals). The article clearly shows the problem continues. The addicts could be kept 'happy' on $2/day which is well within the welfare budget for these unfortunates, and many could hold down jobs and girls would not be forced into the sex trade, SURELY IT IS CRIMINAL FOR SOCIETY TO DEMAND THAT THESE BROKEN HUMANS(and they are our brothers and sisters) PAY UPWARDS OF $50 'A SHOT' WHEN THE TRUE COST is nearer $1, is it not? Society has only itself to blame for the CHRONIC ongoing festering sore that the DTES is on the FACE of VANCOUVER CITY.
  132. Uri Heuer from East Van, Canada writes: Hooray for the corrupt judges, prosecutors, attorneys, politicians, gang families that are the cause and profiteers of this insanity. They've done a great job! They're so good at helping foreign drug traffickers that now we need a federal intervention beyond the RCMP to weed out these greedy, murderous scoundrels that are pimping and killing the vulnerable.
    This is not a local problem. We need to address the real cause of this once and for all. It is extremely naive to take issue with the money spent in east van. This is only addressing the symptom. The real problem is the corruption which most Canadians are too propagandized to understand.
  133. Old Edmonton Man from Edmonton, Canada writes: It is 'the' job-creating opportunity for sociology, social work, psychology grads. Without the Eastside problems, most of those grads may end up homeless. Just imagine the guys who are running the programs, they are making thousands of dollars a month and in turn feed the economy. The net benefits help the city of Vancouver itself. This is another form of transfer payment from the Federal government to a 'have' province. Let us stop bitching and call it a success.
  134. Zarny YYC from Calgary, Canada writes: Alban Leurk from Ottawax, Canada:

    12:26 PM EST post.

    Amen.

    Table 1 is just depressing though.
  135. billy weathers from toronto, Canada writes: dan van man probably know you lived on commercial drive for years d man
    whats it with the low self esteem that westerners have towards us
    get a life listen go to west van walk the seawall see those people with their lattes
    they dont care- got to kerrisdale
    kitsalano ok dan man they dont want a solution its called
    charles dickens time man its all talk like i said
    been to other cities its been cleaned up
    ok their is no desire in vancouver when the powers to be are in the pink they got thier dough they pay lip service to the poor but donrt do anything its all talk
    what is needed is the federal govt army go in clean it up and help these poeple
    housing
    health care
    food
    doctors people who really care
    professionals not church do gooders
    wanted to get to heaven
    it so so sad man
    real sad and it aint going anywhere soon
  136. Uri Heuer from East van, Canada writes: Old man: youre absolutely right, people go into social work hoping for more victims to prey on. They are the real cause of this mess. Your opinion is that of the mis-informed and un-involved.
  137. Zarny YYC from Calgary, Canada writes: Alastair james Berry from Canada writes:

    'The addicts could be kept 'happy' on $2/day which is well within the welfare budget for these unfortunates, and many could hold down jobs and girls would not be forced into the sex trade, SURELY IT IS CRIMINAL FOR SOCIETY TO DEMAND THAT THESE BROKEN HUMANS(and they are our brothers and sisters) PAY UPWARDS OF $50 'A SHOT' WHEN THE TRUE COST is nearer $1, is it not?'

    I don't disagree that many drugs should be decriminalized and regulated.

    However supplying addicts with cheap drugs isn't going to solve anything. Not much incentive to kick the habit if a welfare cheque is all you need to feed your habit.

    As you said these people are broken. They are too incompetent to make their own decisions. It's time for the kid gloves to come off.
  138. p.j. floyd from Jaffray B.C., Canada writes: We live in an addicted society (see Ann Wilson Schaef); the difference is that some addictions are socially acceptable - stuff, work, stock markets, money, you name it - and others are not - street drugs, cheap alcohol. And nowadays, every town in Canada has its equivalent to the downtown east side.
    Addiction and specially substance addiction, is a cruel master, not a lifestle choice, and each addicted person is an idividual, a person with a history and a family that grieves for their lost one. It takes a huge amount of courage to decide to leave an addiction; it's scary and painful and for some, the hunger never goes away.
    Look at the DES and tell yourselves: 'there but for the grace of god go I - or my sister or my child'.
  139. Alban Leurk from Ottawax, Canada writes: Alastair, what's criminal? allowing them legally to waste themselves at $2/day or removing them from this slum, giving them a chance to clean up in Nature -I thought green is the new 'in' these days or is it just a marketing ploy?...- and see after a year who wants to contribute to society after living a healthy lifestyle? Obviously babysitting is costly and inefficient...
  140. JOHN YAREMA from Canada writes: Instead 0f spending billions of dollars fighting the drug trade why don't governments around the world buy up the drugs from the farmers who produce it before it gets into the hands of the smuglers and dealers. It would be a lot cheaper than the present system of waiting until the drugs hit the street.
  141. double mike from Canada writes: Alastair james Berry from Canada writes: The problems will continue until the supply of drugs is legalized and regulated.

    ABSOLUTELY. But the problem won't ever be fixed, because too many people from both sides of the law are vitally interested in its continuation.

    Just think about it: lawyers, cops, judges, social workers, charities, corrupt and not so corrupt politicos, gangs having politicos in their pockets (remember Bernier?). So there is a huge omnipotent lobby behind this money making machine. And our brainwashed by TV public grown up on Chuck Norris movies... There is no hope.
    .
    .
  142. Barbara Fornssler from Toronto, Canada writes: These comments are all over the place. My question is to the author - what is the percentage of spending in relation to the whole of the system? The whole of the health system, the whole of the justice system, the whole of the mental health system. I'm begging for some context here! Most articles would report something like '200 million of the total 6 billion spent for fiscal year X' but this is a glaringly absent from your article. This whole piece is rife with seemingly large dollar amounts but there is no financial context for readers to understand the spending. Is 43 Million dollars a lot of money? Sure it sounds large, but what does the annual health care bill in Canada amount to? How about just in the greater Vancouver area? What about other areas of downtown Vancouver? You're inflammatory article is less about solving problems and more about inciting tempers regarding the money that has already been spent - particularly telling is the 'moneypit' headline and the timing of this article during an economic decline - Poor journalism is hardly a substitute for informed discussion.
  143. Pie Boy from Canada writes: There are a lot of people working on solutions for the plight of the those on the Downtown East Side. Despite some readers' comments, there do not appear to be any quick fixes.

    It is entirely reasonable to not want our tax dollars spent on helping these people, just as other Canadians (like me) have the right to want some of their hard-earned tax dollars used to take care of our most vulnerable citizens.

    Regardless, it is disturbing to see some of the hostile attitudes and suggestions posted here, and disappointing to see the lack of imagination evident in some readers' postings about what many of the people on the Downtown East Side have been through during their lives.
  144. Western Clods from Vancouver, Canada writes:
    The area was called 'Downtown' until a group of activists organized in the 1980s and invented a 'community' called 'The Dowtown Eastside'.

    It may have been a dilapitated area of downtown referred to by residents as skid row, but it was still a part of downtown with stores and restaurants.
  145. Western Clods from Vancouver, Canada writes:
    Barbara Fornssler from Toronto, Canada writes:
    Poor journalism is hardly a substitute for informed discussion.

    _________

    Mark Hume is an award winning journalist who has a good grasp on issues here in Vancouver.

    To call this accurate, in-depth article a piece of poor journalism only displays your lack of knowledge of issues outside of Toronto.
  146. Sue G. from Canada writes: Sounds like an industry to benefit the 'saviours'. - keep repeating what you have been doing , you will get more of what you have.
  147. Uri Heuer from East van, Canada writes: Barbara: yes it is poor journalism. It only serves to re-inforce the contempt for social services. Irresponsible, selfish, and more than likely a contributor to the problem. But the alternative would be to investigate the crimminals on both sides of the bench in the judicial system. Then there's big trouble for the individual in confronting this HUGE network of crimminals that run our country.
  148. Zarny YYC from Calgary, Canada writes: p.j. floyd from Jaffray B.C., Canada writes:

    'Look at the DES and tell yourselves: 'there but for the grace of god go I - or my sister or my child'.'

    Sorry p.j. but no not for the grace of god go I. Or my sister or brother.

    None of us were that stupid.
  149. Dude Love from Canada writes: Poverty is an industry, period. If poverty was eradicated, think of all the case workers, social workers, advocates and politicos that would be out of a job. During the boom times of the past few years, things like welfare numbers should have gone down. Helping those with drug addictions is about taking them away from the things that keep them down, i.e. safe injection sites, access to drugs, their pusher, co-dependents, etc. Establishing rehabs far away would be a step in the right direction. Money pit is an appropriate title for this article.
  150. Uri Heuer from East van, Canada writes: Western clod: your contempt for Toronto is mis-placed. Would you have entirely missed her point if she were from anywhere else?
  151. J Derk from BC, Canada writes: Who said it? You can't stop people from slowly killing themselves if they don't care and don't have an ounce of ambition. I worked with a church group in the East Side from time to time 45 years ago trying to help (clothe and feed) these unfortunates. I gave money to some who said they would like to go 'somewhere in the Interior' to work on some construction job, or whatever, but they needed money for bus fare. The next day, the next week, the next month they were still there presumably 'trying to get enough money for the bus fare'. Let's face it. The problem will still be there 100 years and 50 billion dollars from now. Low-cost housing does not work. These people can turn low-cost housing into flop houses in no time (they could turn the Vancouver Hotel into a flop hop house inside of a year). Might as well leave the flop houses, as is, and continue doing what we have been doing: providing them with food and a few basic necessities of life for free, procured and dispensed as cheaply as possible.
  152. Uri Heuer from East van, Canada writes: I'm amazed at the amount of bitter, ignorant taxpayers who think that social workers are the problem. Go away. You help no one with this foolish rhetoric. Social workers ARE NOT HAPPY about this. Do firefighters hope that there are more fires? Do coroners hope for more deaths? Does the ice-cream man hope that a little girl drops her scoop so he can sell her another? Okay, maybe the last one was rhetorical...
  153. bobby brown from victoria, Canada writes: would it be possible to calculate all the theft involved for the addict to aquire these drugs in the first place,How much cost and human misery there?The industry of homelessness and addiction is VAST,many people make very good money from this growth business.
    Victoria has become like the downtown east side,you would not believe the horror only a ferry ride away with an open air drug market less than 3 blocks from the police station,across the street fom a 15 million dollar so called drop-in center and housing project,where some of these dealers live.The addicts and the pushers own the streets of Victoria,why one was PUSHED in front of a bus just yesterday.
  154. rufus l from Vancouver, Canada writes: Since Europeans settled the Lower Mainland over 200 years ago people down on their luck have headed to Vancouver. Look back to any major economic downturn in North America & you will see a migratory trend of the unemployed and down and out to low income areas of Southern BC.

    BC really deserves more Federal funding to help deal with this problem. We also need a coordinated & accountable approach since there is clearly a lucrative 'social service' industry that is taking advantage of the chaos in public policy, to make a lot of money in the downtown eastside.
  155. bobby brown from victoria, Canada writes: if you reward bad behaviour,you will get more of it!
  156. The Susus from Canada writes: Yeah bad money i suppose, but we also should not have shut down most if not all federal mental institutions, leaving mental patients (all but the deadly kind) to fend for themselves in drop in clinics or prison.

    Also, where do you suggest you put them or where they would 'exist'? If not here, then there, and if not there than here. I mean you will ALWAYS have somewhere in every big city that people like this will end up hanging out.

    Sorry, pretty trees and curbs, and gentrification doesn't make people who are junkies or mentally ill suddenly move on. If you do not have an adequete social system to help out the bottom 1% then they will be on the streets and in your sight more.

    And this is what it's really about, everyone just doesn't like to see it.

    I mean...let's consider how much we've spent on canceled helicopter contracts since that debacle started 20 years ago!
  157. The Susus from Canada writes: Addiction in usually a result of something, not automatically the cause. Sometimes people do go from 'normal' life to the bottom via drugs, but usually it's other issues of poverty, abuse, or mental illness, and THEN the drugs come into play used for coping.

    It's not the best way to deal with it, but there are some people who believe when you are in pain you shouldn't take any medication, just tough it out and suffer right?

    I mean over half the population is on 'prescribe' meds of some sort, and they are not all that safe either.

    Who are we to tell people what they can consume? We let people eat or drink themselves to death, why is that okay? I'm just playing devils advocate here.
  158. bobby brown from victoria, Canada writes: Quick fixes may be found at the SO CALLED SAFE? injection site!
  159. Sue G. from Canada writes: Uri Heuer from East van, Canada writes: .... Social workers ARE NOT HAPPY about this. Do firefighters hope that there are more fires?
    …………..
    Frustration abounds on all sides. However firefighters evaluate the success of their efforts after every fire and make changes aimed to a better success for any reoccurrence. I do not see those same undertakings in the areas outlined in this article. Lawless / anarchy is the picture I see.

    There is a fundamental problem - inherent in some past ( and sadly current) practices of “urban design”. E.g. there are few, if any examples of successful outcomes ( 20 years out) for “projects” that “consolidate” low cost housing….. So why are the same solutions still being offered?
  160. harry carnie from Northern, B.C, Canada writes: HuH!........what`s new?
    The same situation exists on our many First Nation reserves.
    Billions of tax dollars have been squandered over the years, with little effect.
    Until we attack the basic social problems, the situation will remain the same.
    This is an 'industry'in its self. Too many individuals profiting by the situation as it stands(and not the people who do need the help).
    Until we legalize the milder drugs(pot) and treat the harder drug addictions as a medical problem(which it is)
    It will be the same old ,same old.......

    This also applies to the gang situation as well..'modern prohibition '(for drugs) .

    PROHIBITION ...Did NOT work
    back then .Does NOT work now.
  161. AddingMy Voice from Vancouver, Canada writes: Many posters have suggested removing addicts from the DTES into a remote rural rehab facility. Some saying this out of compassion, and others out of spite. Does anyone know if this has been tried? And with what success? This approach seems like it could work wonderfully for some DTES unfortunates, so why not try it?
  162. sean wood from vancouver, Canada writes: It's highly unlikely the DTES will ever be cleaned up. The poor souls who inhabit the area are the primary host that thousands of well paid people feed on to maintain their own employment. One passed out drunk on the sidewalk is capable of drawing a fire truck, a couple of ambulances and at least one police car. As many as ten well paid individuals with their little rubber gloves on will spend quality time socializing with each other while attending to the poor unfortunate who probably doesn't even understand what the fuss is about. It's a bizarre reversal, but these downtrodden unfortunates are themselves the crack cocaine that countless social workers,politicians,care givers, police, judges, etc. etc.,desperately need to maintain their own employment. As one poster said, the DTES looks the same as it did forty years ago and it will probably look the same forty years from now.
  163. Uri Heuer from East van, Canada writes: Until we get rid of the judges that work for the organizations that profit from the drugs, this entire issue is moot. You can argue about the financial cost forever, you just help the profiteers more and more. You are being had. This isn't a conspiracy theory. Crimminals are let off every day by judges working in the BC courts. Ask a cop. They know who's to blame, but they also know that they have judges in their pocket. This is the REALITY. The Feds and BC NEED to address this asap!
  164. boden surea from United States writes: I choose not to use the word mental illness as a generality as that indicates a more severe condition which some addicts may suffer but not all. Mental impairment includes Mental Illness as well as Psychological damage.

    I define pimps, drug dealers, violent parents, as predators.

    1. Start with hard drugs, heroin, cocaine and meth-amphetamine and their derivatives. The people who are self medicating with these are in the most danger.

    2. Get the mentally impaired away from the predators. They are the real problem.

    3. Separate the violent from the nonviolent. Deal with the violent appropriately.

    4. For the nonviolent build 2 summer camp-esque mental health facilities with farming and animals somewhere lovely.

    5. Utilize appropriate drug therapies supplied by the pharmaceutical companies in exchange for tax write offs equivalent to the cost of production (wholesale).

    6. Sort out the permanently mentally impaired. Protect them in an appropriate safe setting (first camp heal-um-up). Give them something productive to do if possible. Protect them from predators.

    7. Help the temporarily mentally impaired / traumatized. Protect them in a child like atmosphere (second camp heal-um-up) where they are free to heal, do therapy, become productive and make friends. (Nobody makes a better friend than someone who is going through the same thing you are.) Protect them from predators.

    P.S. Do not put the mentally impaired in a jail! That will only exasperate their condition and cost more to help in the long run. Most of the homeless kids that I meet are already on the run from an authority figure who was supposed to love them and treat them kindly. Kindness is all they are looking for. Anyone who believes it's easier to live on the street than to have a basic job and live in an apartment with friends, should try it.
    You'll find out just how hard life can be.
  165. Uri Heuer from East van, Canada writes: Sue: social workers in east van can't stop the influx from other areas. Therefore, blaming their 'industry' is like blaming the coroner for the deaths 'industry'. Simple as that.
  166. The Money Ain't For Nothing from Toronto, Canada writes: AddingMy Voice from Vancouver, Canada writes Many posters have suggested removing addicts from the DTES into a remote rural rehab facility. Some saying this out of compassion, and others out of spite. Does anyone know if this has been tried? And with what success? This approach seems like it could work wonderfully for some DTES unfortunates, so why not try it?

    Interesting approach...........maybe. Given I am not aware of any instance in Canada where re-location solved the 'problem'. We did it to Japanese Canadians in WWII, native children to boarding schools, the black population from Halifax to the country, etc................so why would it work in this situation?
  167. harry carnie from Northern, B.C, Canada writes: Uri Heuer would say you have an excellent point.

    When those who are charged with gun offenses are released on bail, almost immediately, to reoffend.

    Our 'useless' Attorney General admitted on T.V. that
    The 'possible danger to the public' aspect IS
    NEVER CONSIDERED IN THESE CASES when
    the judges allow bail.Sickening..is it not?
  168. G len from Halifax, Canada writes: So what this article is saying is that if you take a bunch of drug addicts and social 'low lifes' and give them the benifits of 1.4 billion dollars of housing, food and other 'social' programs, rather than becoming respected, productive members of society, they'll instead become easy living addicts. As well, you'll attract addicts and drug dealers from other parts of the country who want a piece of the good life. Wow, what a surprise. I have an idea, lets give them more money and summer camps too. That way they not need spend any money on such inconvieniences as food, shelter and blankets. They can spend all their hard earned begging money on more drugs. Why that's such a left wing idea (thanks Fed Libs, prov NDP and Sam Sullivan for you 2000 agreement) it has to work. And if it doesn't, give it more money. Weee, money for druggies everywhere (at least in Vancouver).
  169. TERRI R from Kimberley, Canada writes: Follow the money......Real Estate agents are some of the bigger beneficiarys of this.....how much monies went into buildings that should rightfully be torn down, again those slum lords are the ones making most of the monies......how many ex-politicians or those lobbyists and holding companies making monies.....If we follow this thinking we can see exactly where the money went....Not to the areas that are so in dire need of it....This is where the investigative reporting should be looking.
  170. Sue G. from Canada writes: Uri Heuer from East van, Canada writes: Sue: social workers in east van can't stop the influx from other areas.

    The problem of ' consolidation '- both on the 'problem' side and the 'help' side - exacerbates any issue.
    The banner advertising the DTES gets, is successful; , I would be surprised if it did not attract more “clients”.
  171. censured ... from Canada writes: the reality is that the more resources the are gets to support low income and homeless people...the more we get from other parts of the country. Put the funds into training centres in places like Mackenzie BC, Tumbler Ridge and Prince Rupert...and let the market dictate what to do with housing in the Downtown Eastside. I guarantee you that the problem will subside...to the benefit of all Downtown Eastside residents.
  172. Jack Jones from Canada writes: Legalize drugs.

    Throw the $ you save on 'enforcement' into rehab, education, social housing.

    Problem solved.

    At least greatly reduced to the point of being insignificant.

    No, you can't stop people from doing drugs or destroying themselves, but you don't have to throw good money after bad by putting these people in jail or paying police to deal with them.
  173. mone ofurbus from Canada writes: I.m amazed at the variety of solutions (some good) to the problem on these posts ,and astonished that some think legalizing drugs would fix it. The legalizing of alcohol years ago and the subsequent carnage of countless lives fbecause of booze ,proves you dead wrong. As a few have attested to, there is a solution and involves reprogramming (enforced) the affected to change their habits and lives. The biggest hurdle in implementing such an endeavor ,are the bleeding hearts who think that pouring in billions into the black hole is the answer,and or that drug abuse is a right .
    Such regressive thinking will insure that the problem of drug use and poverty will continue be a growing plague.
  174. harry carnie from Northern, B.C, Canada writes: mone ofurbus ..............and I am amazed to think there are those who still do not admit that PROHIBITION DID NOT WORK........
    BACK THEN....AND DOES NOT WORK NOW!!!!

    As long as there is a market for this stuff..alcohol,
    tobacco, and pot............You are only financing the gangs who WILL supply it.
    Anyone who does not recognize this is delusional.

    You may'educate' until you are blue in the face.
    'just say no' does NOT cut it!!
  175. Steve I'm Not an Alberta Redneck from Calgary, Canada writes: double mike from Canada writes: 'The only solution to the drugs problem is legalization of soft drugs. Of course vested interests of law enforcement, bigots and drug mafia will never let it happen.'

    Of course you are completely correct but when bigoted scum like E M from Vancouver call people with correct positions 'lefties' and work hard and make considerable political donations to put Harpo and the CON criminals in parliament, little will really change for the better.

    Given a political mandate for constructive change, the place would be cleaned up in time for the Olympics but this would involve drug maintenance for addicts, the end of the hypocritical stupidity of the 1/3 of Canada's population who are ignorant of the what causes these problems or profit from them. They must also get an education and dump that 'old tyme religion' that only serves to enrich a bunch of fundamentalist con men. Every government initiative that serves these fundamentalist criminal scum is doomed to failure and must be ended.



    Our problems in Canada are large but the downtown east side isn't really a problem, just a situation in need of an intelligent solution.

    Its Canada's neo Nazis and their claim that getting 1/3 of the vote entitles them to dictate to the reasonable 2/3 that is the problem.

    And no, I'm no I'm no 'lefty' - I'm a real conservative. Its just that the Republican and Reform tripe who have stolen the term conservative to confuse people.
  176. bob saunders from Belleville, ON, Canada writes: Steve I'm Not an Alberta Redneck from Calgary, Canada writes: double mike from Canada writes: 'The only solution to the drugs problem is legalization of soft drugs. Of course vested interests of law enforcement, bigots and drug mafia will never let it happen.'

    Of course you are completely correct but when bigoted scum like E M from Vancouver call people with correct positions 'lefties' and work hard and make considerable political donations to put Harpo and the CON criminals in parliament, little will really change for the better.

    ------------------- So idiot from Calgary what happened during the 35 or more years out of the past 50 when the Fiberals were in power, and the 20 or so when people were stupid enough to voter the NDP is provincially. Zip, Nada, nothing- all they did was increase the problem. This isn't a problem you can blame on any one party most of all the conservatives.
  177. mone ofurbus from Canada writes: harry carnie from Northern, B.C, Canada writes: mone ofurbus ..............and I am amazed to think there are those who still do not admit that PROHIBITION DID NOT WORK........
    BACK THEN....AND DOES NOT WORK NOW!!!!
    -------------------------------------------------------------
    Oh yes it did work ,much better then now, proportionally there were far fewer alcohol related tragedies when booze was illegal. Sure the prohibition was not the answer to all , but why was it set up in the first place? Was it not because of rampant abuse and the cause of much carnage and tragedy, as now.
    Why is it that most of the middle east and asian countries have much less problems with drugs than we? Just ask any north american whose been caught with the junk on them.
    The law there, treats offenders with a heavy hand ,ensuring
    compliance. Something we should duplicate, rather than the wrist slapping justice that promotes reoffending.
    But, like I said before,with the prevailing bleeding heart attitude so abundant in Canada,drug abuse and the results thereof will continue to flourish till we finally wise up.
  178. Western Clods from Vancouver, Canada writes:
    And for those who think developers are the ones profitting from the situation, think again.

    Take the run-down single room occupancy hotels that run along Hastings. These are buildings that were originally designed for short-term transient stays. Most of them should have been torn down decades ago.

    Now the municipal government considers these 'hotels' a form of social housing. The people who owned them that wanted to sell them or tear them down can't because the City passed a bylaw effectively banning any other use of the building or land. And now the owners have absolutely no incentive or reason to improve any of these firetraps. Some of these buildings are over 100 years ago and would require tens of millions in renovations just to bring them up to code.

    If the government bought all of them, built modern social housing and SPREAD IT OUT around Metro Vancouver, while tearing down the SROs, relocating people to new social housing, then selling the land off to developers, you would go a long way towards solving the problem, while paying for it.

    FLEABAG SRO's ARE NOT SOCIAL HOUSING. They need to be replaced.
  179. Uri Heuer from East Van, Canada writes: Sue: Again, you cannot blame them for the effect caused by making the public aware of the issue. BC is a safe place for drug dealers to do business. That is the main factor here. When a BMW is parked outside of one of these hotels on a delivery and you see the dealer who just unloaded enough product to get you or me put in jail for a long time, he just hops back into his BMW and drives off, comforted by the knowledge that the police are powerless against him. If they arrest him, the paid-off judge lets him off. This is the reality of the DTES. All other arguements are either in denial or in service of it
  180. Uncle Fester from Canada writes:
    Q: What do you get when you house an addict in a 350,000 well furnished room, give him a toothbrush, toothpaste, clean needles and cable television?

    A: An expensive addict.
  181. prospector from blackfly country from Canada writes: Paul B from Vancouver, Canada writes:....Tough situation requires tough calls.
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Without a doubt, this post, in its entirety, is the most intelligent here today.

    For those that want to hug a druggie - go for it. Take him/her to your home and save them, but get them out of our city.
  182. Sue G. from Canada writes: Uri Heuer from East Van, Canada writes: ….the main factor here. When a BMW is parked outside of one of these hotels on a delivery …..All other arguements are either in denial or in service of it
    ..............
    I would argue that those who made the decision to consolidate the “clients” in “one of these hotels” are in service of it, as you put it.
  183. Yvonne Wackernagel from Woodville, Canada writes: Whaley from Ontario, Canada writes: Most of you who propose rounding them up and shipping them for rehabilitation elsewhere sound an awful like the original plan for jewish citizens during world war 2. And we all know how that turned out!
    ======================================

    OMG. Now we have a twist on a historic problem. I have never heard that the Jews in Europe who were supposed to be rounded up and gased were drug addicts and prostitues, etc. Give me a break!
  184. doug b from calgary, Canada writes: Seems like every major city has an eastside downtown problem. Why are we enabling these people with shelter, food, medical etc.. in areas were they want to hang out, smoke crack, and people watch. Their not going to get jobs there, they will just wallow in their own environment.
    Pull them out of there and help them out in areas where it could be possible to change. Getting jobs in more industrial areas and helping them move into the lower middle class blue collar type life style is possible... setting them up in suites on urban East Hastings and expecting them to put on a three piece suit and work downtown is not.
  185. Josephine Crimbaldy from Victoria, Canada writes: Gangsters, gang leaders, drug dealers, illicit drug manufacturers - ship them all off to a camp on Baffin Island! Shooting innocent bystanders; perpetuating disease and dispair; preying on vulnerable, mentally ill, broken people; beating women and turning them into sexual slaves for their own gratification; draining our police and court resources - lets see how god damn tough you really all are surviving at a work camp in the Arctic!
    Once these rats and cockroaches are cleared out, perhaps there will be some hope for the now unsolvable issues in the DTES.
  186. Uri Heuer from Canada writes: sue: exactly. Many are either willing or unwilling contributors. There are bigger fish to fry, however and they are protected by crimminal forces within the judicial system. I'd prefer a focus on the real cause of the huge influx of available narcotics, rather than postulate on the techniques being used to deal with it's ugliest symptom. It is a great distraction. It results in the same cyclical, partisan, lefty vs con nonsense which dominates every single social issue, hindering any improvement.
    If Noah could have stopped the proverbial flood, he wouldn't have needed the arc. Let's ask the Feds, the UN, humanitarian agencies to help us stop the flood of drugs rather than bicker over the style of arc to build. We shouldn't need it.
  187. Uri Heuer from Canada writes: Josephine: wish it were possible, unfortunately there are too many that think that blaming everyone except for the big dealers and their corrupt enablers is the way to go.
  188. Joseph Bloggins from Canada writes: double mike from Canada says 'The only solution to the drugs problem is legalization of soft drugs. Of course vested interests of law enforcement, bigots and drug mafia will never let it happen.' What a stupid comment. Legalization of drugs is not the solution....it is the problem. Anybody who thinks that legalization will do anything positive are far removed from reality. The 'logic' of the legalizers is that if legal, there will be no market left for the pushers and the government will make money off the taxes (what a joke). Such stupidity is hard to fathom. The 'legalizers' seem to be completely unaware that the smuggling of cigarettes and booze from the US is rampant and it is done specifically to get around the taxes. The same thing will happen to drugs if they are 'legalized'. Even the Dutch are waking up to the fact that their liberal experiment with so-called 'soft drugs' has been an unmitigated disaster. What needs to happen is very, VERY strong sentencing of drug pushers. Gang members need to be rounded up and if they are recent arrivals, they need to be summarily deported and never allowed back into the country. But the solution absolutely will NOT be found in handing over untold millions of dollars to social engineers who want to test out their new theories.
  189. Shank's Pony from Fredericton, Canada writes: Think DTSE is bad? How 'bout FORT McMURRAY, ALBERTA? Another cesspool of crack, junk, crystal meth and other drugs, alcoholism, prostitution and crime. But we don't read too many stories about it--them's just 'good ol' boys' having a 'good ol' time' with their Tar Sands money. How 'bout cleaning up the Tar Sands and moving the oil rig riff-raff to some distant wilderness camp. Better yet, THROW THEM IN JAIlL. But you wouldn't do that to WHITE, MALE, MIDDLE CLASS WAGE EARNERS, would you, even though they're doing the same drugs, and doing the same crimes. HYPOCRITES.
  190. J R from Vancouver, Canada writes: People who say treating addiction as a health care issue is a means to save money are only kidding themselves. If doctors take over, the costs would be much greater than they are now even. Doctors currently 'treat' addicts who go to them for help, with no success to to show for all the money the provincial health plan gives them. Although addicts are understandably in poor health from all their self-inflicted abuse, addiction itself is not a health problem. Those who say that we have to move away from the criminal justice system to deal with addicts have no grasp of what is actually going on. Currently addicts are not prosecuted for consuming drugs. If they are caught for committing another offense, they receive no significant punishment partly because of their addiction. The criminal justice system is not involved in the addicts' lives or in attempts to rehabilitate them. Then there is the claim that there should be tougher punishments for drug dealers. The drug dealers are not responsible for what addicts do to themselves. Addicts are responsible for what they do to themselves. This problem will never be solved by shooting off target. There have to be two approaches to this. First and most important one has to respect addicts as the adults they are. We have to respect their right to poison themselves if they so choose to. However, their right to poison themselves does not give them a license to harm others. When they do go and harm others, they should be dealt with severely by the criminal justice system. That would be a huge change from the current policy of 'it is everyone else's problem, not the addict's.' It is the addict's problem. No one else is either responsible for it, nor can do anything about it. Then many mention the social hardships that addicts suffer that steer them towards this lifestyle. Ameliorating those problems cannot be done for addicts alone, as it will encourage them to stay addicted as a way to survive.
  191. Political Junkie from Canada writes: A number of people posting here have made the claim that the amount of money spent has been worth it because 'lives have been saved.'

    Society has to make choices. Had the same amount of money been spent on putting guard rails along dangerous highways, lives would also have been saved. Better ambulance services or money spent on ER nurses would have saved lives.

    Which would have been the better deal?
  192. Paul Thompson from Canada writes:
    Bloggins, without Prohibition Al Capone would likely have never been anything more than a small-time thug. Think about it. If an otherwise law abiding and self-supporting adult citizen wants to smoke a bit of weed in the privacy of his or her home, that's fine by me. I do agree with you about harsh sentences for those who deal in smack, coke and especially crystal meth, but I also think heroin could be supplied in some cases to the most incorrigible of addicts, so at the very least they don't have to resort to crime to support their habit. Many people have lamented the amount of money spent on the downtown Eastside, and while there's no doubt some wastage it is arguable that things would be even worse without this infusion of funds.
  193. George Matthews from Canada writes: To all of the posters who are still trotting out that load of bullpocky, 'We're only helping addicts kill themselves when we hand out free needles.':

    Without the needle exchange, the DTES enjoyed the very, very dubious distinction of having the HIGHEST HIV INFECTION RATE in the entire world. Sharing needles kills. That - is - what - happens - when - people - cannot - trade - in - their - used - needles - for - FREE - new ones.

    Without the needle exchange, it was necessary to watch every step one took in the DTES because used needles were everywhere, and I mean everywhere - in laundromat washing machines, on bus stop benches, hiding in the grass in the strip between the road the sidewalk, in garbage bags, etc., etc.

    Also, Insite only allows a person with a new, clean needle to inject by themselves (no possibility of needle sharing), and then requires them to dispose of that needle in a safe manner before leaving. Insite does not provide the drugs. Once again, for the slow folks: It - is - a - SUPERVISED - drug injection site.
  194. Troubled Youth from Everywhere, Canada writes: A fine example of progress by committee. Living quarters for 44 low income at $326,484 per suite, about 250 square feet of living space, including a bathroom and kitchenette.

    The money is not getting to the street where it is needed. It is being absorbed by every person who handles it, before it ever reaches those in need.
  195. Alan Craigie from Aberdeen, writes: Doesn't anyone in B.C. understand the concept of enabling. If we stopped helping people live in addiction many would clean up. Granted some would die but there going to anyway. All the money does is extend the misery. It's insane for people to think that facilitating drug use with programmes like Insite helps anyone.
    Cut of all services for users. No welfare without a negative drug test. No shelters, food banks or pedicures.
  196. George Matthews from Vancouver, Canada writes: Wow - some people are really going the distance to defy the laws of physics and common sense.

    How the hell is someone who has just scored some drugs DELAYING the need for a fix right then and there so they can go to a supervised site and not the nearest bus stop/alley/bench/doorway ENABLING their addiction?

    Drugs are scored everywhere in the DTES, not just Hastings & Main. Actually, I would like to thank the addicts that make the extra effort to go to Insite to fix, instead of taking the much EASIER route of fixing in the nearest spot that will do. Addicts cannot fix soon enough - how is inviting them to participate in something that takes precious time away from getting them that fix enabling them in any way??

    As for the addicts dying off (how convenient), it takes a very, very long time. An addict with AIDS can live for years, even with very little medical attention. Shared needles just makes sure that all kinds of disease spreads like wildfire.

    I hope the more reasonable minded people in this forum can see the very obvious benefits to everyone in the community of the harm reduction model, even if it only means not having to watch someone fix in front of them.
  197. Alan Craigie from Aberdeen, writes: It's idiots like George Matthews that prolonge and increase the magnitude of the problem with this moronic harm reduction model.
    Ask yourself if your daughter or son became a drug addict would you want someone to put them up in a flat, given needles (and drugs if the nutcases get their way) or would you want them to be encouraged to take treatment.
    Get a grip harm reduction hasn't worked, it's been a colossal failure thats cost thousands of lives.
    It beggars believe how we continue with a policy that's failed so dramatically. We could easily have put every addict in treatment for much less money. The only reason I can imagine policy makers have for continuing is their lobbied by the industries that profit from maintaining the status quo.
  198. Charles Houlihan from Victoria, Canada writes: Why not spend the billion dollars in fighting organized crime? These men get stinking rich, while their victims live in hell. Time to get tough on these scumbags. Don't say it'll never work until it's been tried. Harm reduction is a failure - time to try something else.
  199. George Matthews from Vancouver, Canada writes: Alan Craigie - do you even have the capacity to read??

    I've pointed out the errors in your thinking and basic logic. I'm not surprised you've simply come back with more un-truths, because your position is confused and indefensible.

    Guess where addicts are encouraged to seek treatment, Alan? At Insite! That's right. Nobody left to their own devices on the street will be able to 'seek treatment', Mr. Let-them-Die. Don't give me that line about 'my kid'. It's obvious you don't consider addicts of any age human beings worthy of the minimum of care.

    As for the addicts' 'paid flat and drugs' - what on earth are you talking about? If you can spare the time and expense of flying in from England, or Mars, or whatever far-flung corner of the universe you are posting from and spending a little time in the DTES, you will be disabused of such flights of fancy in short order.

    Yes, a few addicts have 'paid flats and drugs' here in Vancouver - they're called rich kids.
  200. Political Junkie from Canada writes: Here's a simplistic set of scenarios: We have option one of helping a drug addict prolong a horrible quality of life to a statistically predictable early death by providing a supervised injection site that costs $26,000 per 'customer' year. We have option two of spending the same amount of money to hire emergency room staff that enables addiction free accident victims to enjoy a high quality of life to a normal life expectancy. Questions: Are the options realistic? Assuming that there isn't an infinite amount of tax dollars available, which option should society choose?
  201. Bert Russell Paradox, BC from Canada writes: BOB Saunders: HARRY Carney: I can relate to your life experience ... the waste of our Taxpayer money over the years which gets eaten up by the Liberal socialist system created to administer it.
    It is like a program I saw years ago in Toronto where they moved 2nd and 3rd Generation welfare families into one area and the result just embedded and spread .... The knee jerk Liberal template system is like a contagious disease ... most are well meaning, but the bureaucratric system they build just reproduces itself, they do not do cost effectiveness reviews of the programes, just add people and accumulative budgets.

  202. Alan Craigie from writes: George,
    Aberdeens in Scotland not England. Obviously your ignorance extends beyond social policy. I consider all addicts worthy of treatment. I don't want to pay for injection sites to prolonge drug addiction just to spare me from having to see people shooting up. That's immoral not just stupid. I was on the DTES but have been clean for 6 years. I'm now a home owner, heavy tax payer and volunteer sailing instructor for troubled teens. I certainly don't believe in letting them die as you and the other Insite supporters must.
  203. Paul Byer from Canada writes: Zero tolerance goes a long way.

    Vancouver has been a liberalized city for 2 decades now and look where it has got them. Exactly where they deserve to be.

    My first trips, of many, to Vancouver was during the 80's and it was a beautiful city.

    I returned in the mid 90's and couldn't believe how it had deteriorated. Heroin deals were done in plain sight on the city streets and no one cared. Now you have safe accepted druggy sites and along with them, iron grates on the businesses to deter break and enters.

    Smarten up. Zero tolerance.

    The more pity and understanding you give the addicts, the more you create them.
  204. Paul Thompson from Canada writes: Alan Craigie, if what you said in your last posting is true, and personally I do believe you, you are to be commended for turning your life around and becoming a contributing member of society. However, with all due respect I think you are wrong to dismiss the harm reduction benefits of a place like Insite. The arguments in favor of places like that have been articulated here and elsewhere by people who know a lot more about the subject than I do, so I won't repeat them. In one of your earler postings you advocated denying welfare and other social benefits to those who flunk a drug test. This would IMHO result in a sudden large increase in the number of desperate and strung-out people on the street, and this would be especially uncool in a place where guns are relatively easy to get hold of. Do you see where I'm going with this?
  205. BEN DOVER from WESTERN CANADA, Canada writes: Just watching the Variety Club Show of Hearts while reading this. The difference. The little kids on T.V. didn't have a choice, these people did. Put our money where it really helps. Support the kids.
  206. Alan Craigie from Aberdeen, writes: Paul, When you give an active drug addict a welfare cheque they immediately buy drugs. All you've accomplished is to provide a 4 hour break from stealing, dealing or selling there bodies. It's just giving money to the Taliban, Farc or Hells Angels. The DTESiders call welfare day mardigras it's the most violent day of the month. It doesn't help anyone to give them money. If they didn't get it I think more would go to treatment.
  207. Paul Byer from Canada writes: Alan Craigie from Aberdeen, writes: Paul, When you give an active drug addict a welfare cheque they immediately buy drugs. All you've accomplished is to provide a 4 hour break from stealing, dealing or selling there bodies. It's just giving money to the Taliban, Farc or Hells Angels. The DTESiders call welfare day mardigras it's the most violent day of the month. It doesn't help anyone to give them money. If they didn't get it I think more would go to treatment.
    ......................................................................................

    It is a good thing to hear from the other side of the fence, who have been through the hell of addiction, have beaten it, and live a productive life. I also was involved very much in the cess pool of addiction, but from the legal side. I agree whole heartedly with your views and it really is important that you contribute. So much is lost by the contribution of well wishers who have no idea of the situation nor the consequences of ill conceived solutions. They cannot even speculate that which is involved. I do believe also that there is too much special interest involved in the present unproductive solution.

    Keep up the good work.
  208. david sandford from Canada writes: paul Byer...zero tolerance? for what..mental illness? downtown eastside is NOT just about drugs, i work in the area, The sadness and desperation is not so simplistic as thinking its all about drugs...
  209. Paul Byer from Canada writes: david sandford from Canada writes: paul Byer...zero tolerance? for what..mental illness? downtown eastside is NOT just about drugs, i work in the area, The sadness and desperation is not so simplistic as thinking its all about drugs...

    ......................................................................................

    I say zero tolerance with the drugs and crime in general.

    And your solution or what you perceive is the problem aside from the drugs and crime?
  210. eric kendall from Vancouver, Canada writes: The only real hope for these sad people are enforced laws to stop the enabling madness and, most importantly, a judiciary that sends criminals to prison. The Charter almost certainly stops the rounding up and forced removal of criminals and users.

    Read what the Vancouver Chief of Police wrote a couple of days ago:
    http://www.vancouversun.com/Real jail time needed chronic offenders/1285350/story.html

    The solution that will help these people lies in a Harper government majority. Only then is there a chance that stronger laws will be passed, in a minority the federal Liberals will oppose, and obligations placed on the judiciary to enforce sentences and remove from our streets the chronic offenders, of which there are many.
  211. C C from Coombs BC, Canada writes: Three points:

    Crack Cocaine and Crystal Meth rip through a human much quicker than the old standards. One reason the carnage has increased so much.

    The East Van slum is Canada's slum. We have a brutal climate and this is where all the unfortunate end up. The TO street people are the ones too dumb or broken to make it to Vancouver.

    This is not much more than the Olympic housing fiasco cost. We sure do have our priorities twisted.
  212. Paul Byer from Canada writes: eric kendall from Vancouver, Canada writes: The only real hope for these sad people are enforced laws to stop the enabling madness and, most importantly, a judiciary that sends criminals to prison. The Charter almost certainly stops the rounding up and forced removal of criminals and users.

    Read what the Vancouver Chief of Police wrote a couple of days ago:
    http://www.vancouversun.com/Real jail time needed chronic offenders/1285350/story.html

    The solution that will help these people lies in a Harper government majority. Only then is there a chance that stronger laws will be passed, in a minority the federal Liberals will oppose, and obligations placed on the judiciary to enforce sentences and remove from our streets the chronic offenders, of which there are many.

    ......................................................................................

    Very true. The hope I have, as Iggy has not forced an election for the Coaliton dreamers, is that Harper will go forward with his very aggressive Law Reform and that Iggy, who I suspect is more Bush ier and more Conservative than Harper may be, will vote again and again for the reform. One can only hope that this government will undo much of what Trudeau did to destroy our justice system.

    Iggy is good for Harper.
  213. Paul Thompson from Canada writes: Eric Kendall, leaving aside the gorge-raising prospect of a Harper majority for one moment, it appears that the solution advocated by the Vancouver police chief bears too strong a resemblance to the American model of The War On Drugs, which no matter how you slice it has been a miserable failure. Violent criminals and those who deal in hard drugs (not cannabis) belong in jail, don't get me wrong, but the conservative habit of dismissing or ignoring social problems in order to justify more tax cuts for the wealthy, foreign military misadventures, or to pour more money into say Quebec for narrow partisan purposes would mean many of the root causes of things like crime and addiction would not be addressed.
  214. Paul Byer from Canada writes: Paul Thompson from Canada writes: Eric Kendall, leaving aside the gorge-raising prospect of a Harper majority for one moment, it appears that the solution advocated by the Vancouver police chief bears too strong a resemblance to the American model of The War On Drugs, which no matter how you slice it has been a miserable failure. Violent criminals and those who deal in hard drugs (not cannabis) belong in jail, don't get me wrong, but the conservative habit of dismissing or ignoring social problems in order to justify more tax cuts for the wealthy, foreign military misadventures, or to pour more money into say Quebec for narrow partisan purposes would mean many of the root causes of things like crime and addiction would not be addressed. ...................................................................................... Would you be referring to the Pension Income Splitting, transportation credits, seniors increased limits, first time home owners credits, tax free savings plans, child credits etc. etc. in your Wealthy? Or your Afghanistan involvement by the Liberals then agreed upon by the Conservatives and again supported by the Librerals as the foreign involvement? Or restricting the Quebec overspending on ridiculous arts or the proposal of life sentences for the worst of murderers part of the partisan purposes, of which you speak? Just wondering?
  215. Paul Byer from Canada writes: Paul Thompson from Canada writes: Eric Kendall, leaving aside the gorge-raising prospect of a Harper majority for one moment, it appears that the solution advocated by the Vancouver police chief bears too strong a resemblance to the American model of The War On Drugs, which no matter how you slice it has been a miserable failure. Violent criminals and those who deal in hard drugs (not cannabis) belong in jail, don't get me wrong, but the conservative habit of dismissing or ignoring social problems in order to justify more tax cuts for the wealthy, foreign military misadventures, or to pour more money into say Quebec for narrow partisan purposes would mean many of the root causes of things like crime and addiction would not be addressed. ...................................................................................... Would you be referring to the Pension Income Splitting, transportation credits, seniors increased limits, first time home owners credits, tax free savings plans, child credits etc. etc. in your Wealthy? Or your Afghanistan involvement by the Liberals then agreed upon by the Conservatives and again supported by the Librerals as the foreign involvement? Or restricting the Quebec overspending on ridiculous arts or the proposal of life sentences for the worst of murderers part of the partisan purposes, of which you speak? Just wondering?
  216. double mike from Canada writes: Where is my post? Interesting...
  217. Paul Thompson from Canada writes: Paul B, I didn't support the Liberals either, and I wouldn't go so far as to say the conservatives NEVER get anything right, but I'll assert from now until doomsday that Harper is a manipulative and dishonest little sparrowfart who'll say or do anything to a) gain power for it's own sake and b) make Canada more like the USA. Not to unduly knock the Yanks, but no thanks.
  218. Paul Byer from Canada writes: Paul Thompson from Canada writes: Paul B, I didn't support the Liberals either, and I wouldn't go so far as to say the conservatives NEVER get anything right, but I'll assert from now until doomsday that Harper is a manipulative and dishonest little sparrowfart who'll say or do anything to a) gain power for it's own sake and b) make Canada more like the USA. Not to unduly knock the Yanks, but no thanks.

    ......................................................................................

    Perhaps you should readdress and reassess, given the factual information given to you.
  219. Vincent Van Go-Go from Netherlands writes: Even the Dutch are waking up to the fact that their liberal experiment with so-called 'soft drugs' has been an unmitigated disaster.
    ------------------------------------------------

    LOL. We have a right wing government that leans that way. What's really helping has been the societal shift away from tobacco use, the premier gateway to illicit drugs for children. Smoking anything in public is uncool.

    For those looking for an absolute like zero tolerance, the Taliban needs recruits who think the same way.
  220. Alexander Slimnich from Canada writes: Another billion-dollar boondoggle because of policies of the 'let's coddle criminals' left (NDP especially).

    Get rid of the drugs - by jailing the dealers, and putting the addicts into forced treatment (with the threat of jail should they not comply) - and you're 90% there towards solving the area's problems.

    Vancouver really ought to take Rudy Guiliani's turnaround of NYC as an illustrative example of what should be done..
  221. Kat Wilson from Canada writes: The same gov't that spends $1-billion on security for the Olympics, continuously makes excuses for why it can't fund drug courts and enforced long term rehab for addicts who routinely use emergency services because they are in such bad shape. These same folks rob and attack citizens for crack money. Funding of social services is haphazard and consists mostly of bandaid approaches. Some of the so-called advocates in the DTES have a vested interest in keeping their clients dysfunctional. How many times have we heard some of these folks argue for addicts being allowed to stay addicted. I'm aghast at some of the agencies who advocate prostitution as a viable career. The stupidity, destructiveness, and parasitical behaviour of these so-called advocates is blinding. Advocates harassed and bludgeoned UBC's first very successful 101 effort right out of the area, claiming, ridiculously, that such education was elitist. Any tough love approach to crack is met with derision. With friends like this, who needs enemies?

    The area needs a combination of tough love (zero tolerance for crack dealing, crack selling, and crack consumption). It needs drug courts and long term rehab well outside the area. A tough love approach would give an addict the choice of a minimum one year in rehab or a jail sentence. Breaking the rules i.e. doing drugs while in rehab would mean instant jail time. Addicts are extremely manipulative and destructive. If they weren't harming others, I might say ok, let them do it, but addiction harms others. Anyone who has grown up in a home with an addict knows full well this is true. Zero tolerance is the only reasonable approach.

    As for the drug dealers, lock them up for life and throw away the key.
  222. Gerry Pankhurst from Westport Ontario, Canada writes: What is the loop hole in Canadian law that allows a newspaper to publish pictures of identifiable people actually taking drugs? Are they permitted to show individuals in the process of committing rape, murder and etc., without being arrested and charged with being complicit in the breaking of the law?

    If they can find, photograph and interview these creatures, why can't the cops? The pictures are there for indentification and clear evidence of the crime being committed. What else do they need. In my view this is a blatant flaunting of the law and approprite corrective measures should be taken.
  223. doctor business from vancouver, Canada writes: Well, in response to the headline:

    Why can't you clean up Canada's slum for $1.4Billion? Because Canada is big, the slum is part and parcel with the rest of it. Clean up Bay Street and that will have an impact in Vancouver. Clean up the corrupt drug war all around the world and our contributions to it in Afghanistan...

    Clean up the streets - get the cars off of them.

    Perspective. One can always argue that the poor are a bad investment - poor thinking is crippling us.
  224. Vincent Van Go-Go from Netherlands writes: Gerry Pankhurst from Westport Ontario, Canada writes: What is the loop hole in Canadian law that allows a newspaper to publish pictures of identifiable people actually taking drugs?
    -------------------------------------

    All the evidence is in the blood, hair (DNA; the picture is just blowing smoke.
  225. Gerry Pankhurst from Westport Ontario, Canada writes: Vincent: You may understand your response. I don't. What is it you are trying to say?
  226. diego f. from nyc, United States writes: legalize this, legalize that. what's the point? drug use (like alcohol abuse) causes amongst other things, violence and a lack of respect for others. the point is to not do drugs. why not buy books or a sandwich instead? but if a person chooses to buy drugs, especially heavy ones, why should he/she be treated like royalty? nothing gives people the right to brake the law, especially when it involves neighbors. junkyness is a lifestyle, not a disease.
  227. Gardiner Westbound from Canada writes: .
    Civil servants, grantrepreneurs, academics, consultants, hustlers, second-rate lawyers, and professional do-gooders did well, the real victims not so much. What else is new?
  228. diana diana from Toronto, Canada writes: The issue here is more mental health hospitals and rehab centres - how about a creative idea. Build mental hospital which contain all the facilities for complete rehab. In Toronto we have mental people everywhere harming the public - today one threw two boys off the subway platforms, lots of rardom knifing, random physical attack, fires being set my mental people. We are talking about people 'known to the police' they literally have to maim or kill a citizen to get mental help - and then it is too late for everybody. In Toronto I am always on the look out for mental people. The government should be sued for not taking care of its mentall ill people.
  229. double mike from Canada writes: Joseph Bloggins from Canada writes:
    'The 'logic' of the legalizers is that if legal, there will be no market left for the pushers and the government will make money off the taxes (what a joke). '

    Who told about making money by special taxation of drugs? Reasonable inflow can be expected from regular sales tax, of course, but the main point is removing drug money from equation to save lives. Government can SAVE a sizable amount just removing legal and enforcement overhead, but that's just a side effect.

    'The 'legalizers' seem to be completely unaware that the smuggling of cigarettes and booze from the US is rampant and it is done specifically to get around the taxes.'

    Good point. You overtax a market by any means (fiscal or legal, doesn't matter) and crime fills the gaps in supply because criminal activity becomes profitable.
  230. double mike from Canada writes: Joseph Bloggins from Canada writes:
    'The same thing will happen to drugs if they are 'legalized'.'

    What same things? You mean smuggling pot from the USA to B.C. where the pot is legal? Do you think before you type, or what?

    'Even the Dutch are waking up to the fact that their liberal experiment with so-called 'soft drugs' has been an unmitigated disaster.'

    Yeah, sure. And Iraq has WMD stockpile under each hill. You say so. My friends from Netherlands say different. Of course you know better.

    'What needs to happen is very, VERY strong sentencing of drug pushers.'

    During Soviet Era Poles introduced capital punishment for rape. Do you think it reduced number of rape cases? Nope. But it increased number of murderous rapes something like 40%. You want to punish drug dealers? Go ahead, you have my enthusiastic support. But don't pretend you want to fix the problem.

    'Gang members need to be rounded up and if they are recent arrivals, they need to be summarily deported and never allowed back into the country.'
    Yeah. Please start with Hells Angels would ya?

    'But the solution absolutely will NOT be found in handing over untold millions of dollars to social engineers who want to test out their new theories.'

    No, you don't think before typing. Otherwise you would've been at least marginally consistent.
  231. kotter 49 from Canada writes: If you track the money I'm sure much of it went to consulting groups and individuals with close government contacts, ad firms and other hangers on who seem to lead a parasitic existence on tax dollars. I would like to see an audit.
  232. kotter 49 from Canada writes: Uri Heuer from East van, Canada writes: Western clod: your contempt for Toronto is mis-placed. Would you have entirely missed her point if she were from anywhere else?
    ---------------------------------------------------------------
    It's impossible to be too contemptuous of Toronto.
  233. S Rankin from Chatham, On, Canada writes: The west spends billions in Afghanistan propping up narco-terrorists who supply heroin to world markets at ever cheaper prices. Actions do have consequences.
  234. B . from Canada writes: Legalizing drugs is not the answer - people should not be doing them, plain and simple. Rather than make what they're doing legal, they need to get off drugs and be doing things that interest them. That means more than food, health care, and shelter - they need something to do all day to give them a sense of accomplishment and sense of self worth.

    To all of your people who want to legalize soft drugs - I do not want to walk down the street and smell your pot smoke! Tobacco smokers are inconsiderate enough - I can only imagine how inconsiderate people would be 'celebrating their right' to smoke pot. Remember that others have a right to clean air. We don't need people getting high in their cars, etc.
  235. eric kendall from Vancouver, Canada writes: Paul Thompson writes that conservatives ignore social problems, then he goes on about unrelated present national and international government policies. Sorry Paul it was the leftie NDP that turfed out to the streets the mentally ill and by all accounts during the previous few years of what is generally considered conservative governments, more has been done than over the past 30 years to help these people. More importantly though is this typical attitude that if tax cuts for the rich were stopped and a generally socialistic administration in place then people would stop taking drugs. Sorry Paul but this problem has been around for a long time and during all sorts of administrations.

    The fact is, many of these people are virtually feral, many are also virtually children. Enabling them to continue and in many cases escalate into increasingly destructive behaviour is like feeding the birds, which we are implored to not do, except during extreme and temporary times.

    Paul, and other utopia-thru-socialism yearning lefties should go to the top of this thread and try to get an objective sense of the sentiments expressed. The permissive experiment is disastrous and the pendulum of public opinion is swinging the opposite way and, if left unchecked, will reach zero tolerance demands of the electorate. This is clearly the way the wind is blowing, I live here in Vancouver and this sentiment is surprisingly acute among left-leaning friends that have had their vehicles repeatedly smashed and robbed or food offered to beggars who throw it back. The only holdouts for the status quo seem to be those in the poverty-pimp-international conglomerate and blinkered and cloistered academics that have hoisted the flag of socialism so high, for so long, that they cannot take it down. They are hurting the the sad cases and perpetuating their and our misery. They are aiding in this social suicide and they are oblivious to the price we pay for the crimes. Their time is up!
  236. double mike from Canada writes: B . from Canada writes: Legalizing drugs is not the answer - people should not be doing them, plain and simple.

    Also people should not drink and smoke tobacco. Muslims think people should not eat pork, Jews think people should not eat shrimps(neither pork, of course), Hindus think people should not eat beef, Vegans think people should not consume any animal protein at all. Catholics think people should not divorce and that priests should not marry. Orthodox allow priests to marry, but strongly against divorces all the same. And some Mormons insist on polygamy. And there are ppl (like me) think that TV should be banned. I won't even mention homosexuality...

    So let's ask government to enforce all our cultural taboos. That might prove to be difficult from time to time, but it will be interesting for sure!
    .
  237. N Bormann from Vancouver, Canada writes: From Wikipedia re homelessness and Rat Park: Rat Park was a study into drug addiction conducted in the 1970s by Canadian psychologist Bruce K. Alexander at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia, Canada. Alexander's hypothesis was that drugs do not cause addiction, and that the apparent addiction to morphine commonly observed in laboratory rats exposed to it is attributable to their living conditions, and not to any addictive property of the drug itself. He told the Canadian Senate in 2001 that experiments in which laboratory rats are kept isolated in cramped metal cages, tethered to self-injection apparatus, show only that "severely distressed animals, like severely distressed people, will relieve their distress pharmacologically if they can." To test his hypothesis, Alexander built Rat Park, a 8.8m (95 feet) housing colony, 200 times the square footage of a standard laboratory cage. There were 1620 rats of both sexes in residence, an abundance of food, balls and wheels for play, and private places for mating and giving birth. The results of the experiment appeared to support his hypothesis. Rats who had been forced to consume morphine hydrochloride for 57 consecutive days were brought to Rat Park and given a choice between plain tap water and water laced with morphine. For the most part, they chose the plain water. "Nothing that we tried," Alexander wrote, "... produced anything that looked like addiction in rats that were housed in a reasonably normal environment."
  238. Uri Heuer from east van, Canada writes: Kotter: it is possible to smarten up and stop stereotyping every single person and event that occurs in Toronto. This is shared ignorance enjoyed by many canadians who have never lived in Toronto for any considerable amount of time. Stop being a bigot. You look stupid
  239. eric kendall from Vancouver, Canada writes: Gerry Pankhurst asks, above, about why photographed drug users are not prosecuted. First, it's not a crime to stab yourself with a needle and the presence of drugs can only be surmised in the photos but, more importantly, you are obviously unfamiliar with the situation in the Downtown-East-Side of Vancouver. What you see in the photographs is not in the slightest bit extraordinary. Within moments of arriving in the area one can see the type of scenes in the photos absolutely at every turn. People deal and shoot-up and roil and squirm in catatonic states right next to and around the main central police station and most people just walk on by, including the police because they haven't the hours to process all the cases and they know that the judiciary will release the druggies within minutes. The police have been reduced to an ambulance service. Two weeks ago I watched as a police van pulled up alongside a guy stoned out and lying on the sidewalk. Immediately nearby and all around life went on with people crouched on the sidewalk rummaging through piles of junk that was being offered tumbling out of shopping carts. The police carefully slipped on their blue latex gloves and helped the guy to his feet, then looked through his pockets and then carefully helped him to the van, making sure his 'stuff' was stowed inside too. Off they went, almost certainly to the hospital rather than the jail. Ambulance and police sirens can be heard in the area extremely frequently, mostly because someone has collapsed and might be dying. John Lehman is an excellent and inspiring photographer but he didn't have to search far to get his shots. Wait for the videos to come, as they surely will, then you will have a better idea of how the area looks. It's a carnival of madness that flows continually all over the area. If you drive through be very careful about looking around and being distracted. It's not dangerous but the walking wounded and the completely addled can walk out in the street.
  240. bobby brown from victoria, Canada writes: Victimhood is an enshrined right,and always an excuse for bad behaviour.I watched the video and was struck by the comment made by the crack dealer."My moms new boyfriend beat her so I had turn to dealing drugs?,what the hell is that garbage? Crack dealers are murderers,this lowlife makes himself out to be just another victim,while dispensing misery and death in the allyways.
  241. Jonny Bgud from Vancouver, Canada writes: $1.4bn?? So which politician is going to stand up and say sorry for wasting tax payers money? This is the problem we have at the moment, politicians use our money for spin and show instead of getting the job done. I don't want a dollar of my money spent on Downtown Eastside if it has no impact. I am more than happy to double what we spend if I see people that need care being helped and criminals that shouldn't be on the street taken off.

    City, Provincial and Federal politicians, this is your failing.
  242. Post Retro from Vancouver, Canada writes: Homelessness in Canada's largest slum is a symptom of the real problems: drug addiction and/or mental illness.

    How about coming up with a solution similar to what used to be the deterrent for old time alcoholics, which was Antabuse, which made them violently upset if even a drop of booze was comsumed?

    I believe that is is not impossible to create a pill, liquid or injectible which would have the same affect as Antabuse when it encoutered cocaine or heroin alkaloids, or salts of amphetamine in the patient's body. Let them take it as a condition of receiving ANY public money, food or shelter. Above all, we must outlaw 'safe' injection sites -- they beneifit only the employees.

    As to mental illness, let BC put right into its charter, that medical,in-patient hospitals MUST exist for those who are a danger to themselves or others due to mental illness. No government, no matter how sanctimonious or blinded by ideology, should be allowed to cancel mental health facilities as the socialists did 15 years ago; without winning a 2/3rds majority referendum on this ghastly decision which has changed life in metropolitan BC very much for the worst.
  243. kotter 49 from Canada writes: Uri Heuer from east van, Canada writes: Kotter: it is possible to smarten up and stop stereotyping every single person and event that occurs in Toronto. This is shared ignorance enjoyed by many canadians who have never lived in Toronto for any considerable amount of time. Stop being a bigot. You look stupid
    ------------------------------------------------------------------
    Lived there. Hated it. It's a dump on the way to becoming a third world dump. Only city in the world that insists on labeling itself as world class.
  244. Shane Gleeson from Vancouver, Canada writes: bobby brown is right, you can't reward bad behavior, the area needs to be critically assessed, now that the cost are out there they should make some big changes. I propose safe injection site because they bring the addicts toward the help they need and many want, we should be much more strict on welfare in the region if that's where you live and you've been unable to get a job then maybe keeping you afloat is the worse thing for you. instead of social housing in the area we should move drug cases out of the area bring them to rehab, make them sign up so they can't choose to leave, this will make for better than 14% going back on the street. The court thing was a good idea but clearly it should be for first time offenders or at most a 3 strike your out type system. And if all that still doesn't show improvement then you have to crack down harder than ever on heroin which is one of the root reasons for people congregating ( and if you don't believe that then look up opium den and the effects to cities the world over)
  245. Gerry Pankhurst from Westport Ontario, Canada writes: Eric Kendall: First let me say I lived and worked for an engineering firm in Vancouver, in the 1950s and, thankfully, was transferred to Australia with an understanding that they would place me elsewhere when I returned, which they did. My good fortune had me finish my career and take up retirement in South Central Ontario: A comparative paradise. The mess described in this article was a small part of what I disliked about the being out there.

    That being said, you seem to condone the life style described in the article or, at the very least, are quite prepared to live with it as being an acceptable way of life there. It is that type of deplorable complacency that is the very reason it will thrive while the crime rate and deteriorating quality of life are on a downhill slide. A typical Vancouver attitude. A beautiful settting for a city - in spite of the lousy climate - but beyond that, you can have it.
  246. eric kendall from Vancouver, Canada writes: Gerry Pankhurst. I absolute do not condone the lifestyle in the Downtown East Side, at all. I've traveled the world and have not seen anything like it anywhere and I think it's disgusting. The liberal attitudes hurt these people, my solution would be work-camps far from the bad influences. Many of these people are not adapted to life in a big city too, they are fish out of water. They should be homesteading somewhere. They need a community which is normal but this is where they gravitate because it's cheap, the whole area is incredibly destructive to anyone and particularly the easily influenced. The poverty industry coddles the criminal element as well as the self-destructive with baloney about needing to take drugs because of imagined wounds from years before. Who doesn't have wounds? There is just no personal responsibility taught. I don't know if any of the do-gooders have ever owned a bad dog or an untrained horse because the liberal attitude wouldn't work with them.

    Some good people that I know, that do work in the area, think that the whole place should be bulldozed. That's in order to help the poor losers that live there.

    Check my post here, ten places above yours and read it again please. I do not condone this madness at all. I point the finger of blame at the judiciary and the laws that allow this societal suicide to fester and grow.

  247. Ray Luft from Mississauga, Canada writes: Is this a Department of Indian Affairs project? Should it be?
  248. S Rankin from Chatham, On, Canada writes: The west spends billions in Afghanistan propping up narco-terrorists who supply heroin to world markets at ever cheaper prices. Actions do have consequences.
  249. Doug Edwards from rural, Canada writes: We are engaged in the liberal - socialist policy of social problem solving . Throw money at it. If it isn't fixed, throw more money.

    Do not ever look at the roots of the problem. You may have to rethink your beliefs about human behavior.
  250. Uri Heuer from east van, Canada writes: S Rankin, you nailed it.

    as for work camps.... as a voluntary rehab treatment, sure, but for how will we get the majority of addicts there? will we presumably sentence drug offenders to serve there? hmmm.... well then why wouldn't we start by turning all prisons into work camps. i mean if doing hard work is rehabilitating, surely all prisoners would benefit from it. I'm sure this idea would go over super well with everyone! No backlash at all. Very realistic plan. GET SERIOUS! GET REAL! A REAL solution is not as simple as that. Wish it were.

    we should put all of our focus into eliminating the trafficking! that's the only solution that most will agree on. period.
  251. billy weathers from toronto, Canada writes: the point is
    why vancouver of all the industrialized cities
    has and continues to have this problem
    it needs federal intervention becaUSE
    the city and province cant and wont fix it so
    before the olympics
    i suggest a royal commision with stephen lewis
    to run it and bring in united nations
    professionals who have worked in darfur
    africa
    because this is a
    third world like problem now
    it need the united nations to step in
  252. Osky Wosky from Wet Coast, Canada writes: DTES- Another Social Engineering Failure of Epic Proportions.
    Einstein said Insanity is: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
  253. Raymond P from Canada writes: Vancouver and money pit? Shouldn't this be called the Olympics?
  254. gordon scott from BC, Canada writes: Let's see.... the Portland Hotel Society's latest project, the Pennsylvania Hotel is said to contain 44 suits:

    "$326,484 per suite, for about 250 square feet of living space, including a bathroom and kitchenette."

    That’s $1,305.94 per square foot what is this place being furnished with marble floors and counters?? Crown molding highlighted with gold paint?? Where is all this money going??
  255. economic slave from Toronto, Canada writes: What is long-term drug rehab? Answer: Supporting these people for the rest of their lives as they sit around and remain unproductive, and are a burden on society. Why would any of these people want to change their lives, when they are getting everything even drugs. Do these people ever think of society at large and the financial burden they are putting on the Canadian Taxpayer? Answer: No! These people think that society owes them, and they are entitled to being supported by the taxpayer dollar. The social, welfare system keeps on preaching that they are druggies and prostitutes through no fault of their own--poor parenting, poverty,abuse, etc. There are many people who have this kind of background who still have a moral sense of what is fair to society at large and they get jobs and are not a social and financial burden on society. However, as long as the social, welfare system keeps on spouting excuses for these people, they will continue to be free loaders. Of course, we have to remember that if the social,welfare system really helped these people become productive people, the social and welfare workers wouldn't be needed so they would lose their jobs. Therefore social and welfare workers are part of fostering these peoples' problems. There is a vested interest in keeping these people in their current state. Social and welfare workers should be paid a base salary and then a bonus for each individual who they can return to being a productive, tax-paying citizen.
  256. Ken M from Canada writes: ""Kerri Waite from Ottawa, Canada writes: 'A directory of free services in the Downtown Eastside prepared for street people lists five shelters, seven locations for free clothing and six places for free meals. Free phones, free hair cuts, free dental work, laundry and showers are available' all this for free.. well no wonder they flock there""

    And removing those "services" is EXACTLY how they cleaned up New York!!!

    You should hear what the local beat cops in the DLES have to say about most of the action groups! G&M staff....dig a little deeper into what I've just said....ask a few beat cops off the record then dig deep.
  257. Misty Blue from Calgary, Canada writes: The alternative is

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/7755664.stm

    You will note in this story that an addict is now a responsible citizen with a family who pays taxes and just happens to need heroin every day. His addiction is considered a disease and treated accordingly the same as other diseases. Instead of draining the public purse with program after program this model actually gets them off the street and back to being relatively useful citizens. (not all I'm sure...that would be Utopian) It also takes the heroin out of the hands of criminals and relieves the police to look after really important policing. I think it is "harm reduction" at its best. What we are doing now ISN'T WORKING but we continue to do it and pour more money into the money pit because of opinion that thinks it is promoting drug use...and because those in the 'business' really don't want to admit they are fighting a losing battle.

    Thing is...those who have a bent to drug it up will do so whether it is legal or not and once someone has experienced being "high" on alcohol, which is legal, it's not a big stretch that some will be receptive to a bigger high when offered.

    Let's stop being hypocrites and just do what WORKS.
  258. harry carnie from Northern, B.C, Canada writes: Misty Blue..............Great to read your post.
    Common sense and intelligence is ALWAYS appreciated. Have a pleasant week
  259. Ron Goffic from Quesnel, Canada writes: Why would you think that putting these folks in the interia could be better for them . or is it yourself that your thinking about. by the way this is not russa nor is it siberia
  260. Otto Waugh from Canada writes:

    Just a suggestion. Raise taxes in the DTSE until there's enough vested interest to renovate and toss the bums out. Meanwhile the zone that needs all the social services pays more of the freight.
  261. Cedar Rob from Canada writes: I also appreciate your comments, Misty Blue. Your thinking is in line with the "safe injection" site currently in operation in Vancouver. The one additional thing about that site is that, if people want to get off drugs, the site can help them, and encourages them to do so. My understanding is that the reports show that the site is quite effective in helping people end their addiction.
  262. john geiss from toronto, Canada writes: until we approach this problem with a true understanding of addiction and underlying reasons for, nothing will ever change
  263. Patricia Hunter from Vancouver, Canada writes: I commend the author on the well written article and for the overwhelming and shocking details on the spending sprees for the downtown east side FIX.
    When will the spending spree stop. No wonder our taxes are so high and still climbing. When will the politicians "Get It", we're broke and in a recession and their phony system isn't working.
    Give the homeless and helpless a reason to change. Remove them from the drugs, set them up in the interior on a farm where no one can get at them, create a communal living environment where they should have responsibility by having them participate in maintaining a farm, however that may be, educate them, provide medical and social support. Get them the hell away from the east side problem, jail the drug dealers/traffickers. Who wouldn't want to come to Vancouver, its a free ride!
  264. Patricia Hunter from Vancouver, Canada writes: I commend the author on the well written article and for the overwhelming and shocking details on the spending sprees for the downtown east side FIX.
    When will the spending spree stop. No wonder our taxes are so high and still climbing. When will the politicians "Get It", we're broke and in a recession and their phony system isn't working.
    Give the homeless and helpless a reason to change. Remove them from the drugs, set them up in the interior on a farm where no one can get at them, create a communal living environment where they should have responsibility by having them participate in maintaining a farm, however that may be, educate them, provide medical and social support. Get them the hell away from the east side problem, jail the drug dealers/traffickers. Who wouldn't want to come to Vancouver, its a free ride!
  265. J Martell from Vancouver, Canada writes: It's ironic that the poorest people in Canada live on some of the richest land in the country! That whole area should be declared a "disaster area" with appropriate relocation of the civilians.

    A fix? I agree that you need to segment and divide the problem. Every kid that wants drugs knows they can risk their lives going down there. It's a wild, wild place and the video by the Globe is excellent - well done.

    I took a friend from back east that was curious about seeing the place lat summer, we dressed like bums and headed into a world of its own. This is like a human zoo folks. These folks are in mental cages.

    I agree that you can't change people, they have to help change themselves and putting them in various "communities" in the interior makes a lot of sense. Giving them a purpose. Promote the leaders in these communities (the "lefties, and activist") to community leaders in these areas and enable them to practice what they preach. Let them become the "government" of these difficult microcosm.

    I'm happy to fund that experiment as a tax payer. Over the past two years, I've lost 3 GPSes that were in my car window and subject to "smash and grab" in the busy streets of downtown Vancouver, likely by DTES homeless than can turn a $700 expense (GPS, broken glass, etc etc) into a $25-50 crack hit. When I'm ask for charity money these days , I just say "I already donated" :-) And yes, I don't feel sorry for myself, it was my own stupidity to think that my car was safe in broad daylight on the downtown streets of Vancouver. I don't drive with a GPS unless I really have to these days - it was my fault by tempting them....

    The problem won't go away - if you simply more the high rent world over without moving the problem, the two will, and have, clashed.

    JM - "Already donated at work...." :-)
  266. G W from Vancouver Island, Canada writes: Norbert Kraft and Misty Blue ... common sense comments.

    I'm pessimistic that our political leaders will ever initiate meaningful remedial action because of the the powerful vested interest groups ... not just the drug dealers but also the justice/social work system. The status quo is to lucrative for all concerned. I hope I'm wrong.
  267. You are part of the rebel alliance and a traitor from Canada writes: What a powerful documentary ... This is my first time to see something that is this high calibre online. Well done Globe and Mail folks.

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