here is a possible model that the United States should at least consider as a viable alternative to the ongoing War on Drugs:
Canada has a radical plan for social costs of drug use
By MIKE LEWIS
SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER REPORTER
VANCOUVER, B.C. -- Gina R. is small and sick, 100 pounds of furtive need. Sitting in a coffee shop in East Downtown, her collar covers the abscess in her neck where a handful of times this day -- every day -- she injects the heroin that buys her time as it robs it.
She admits she gets heroin money "however I can." This includes panhandling and selling sex, drugs and whatever else she's able to acquire. Articulate and saddled with an outstanding arrest warrant, Gina R. knows her nine-year, $200-a-day habit creates problems beyond her own.
"I'd like not to do this," said the 40-year-old Vancouver native who has failed attempts at rehab and is HIV-positive. "I see what happens to people. I know what they do to feed the monkey."
The cops who patrol this neighborhood, one of the poorest in Canada, know this, too. Same for the health workers who track the alarming infection rates of HIV and viral hepatitis in the swath surrounding the intersection of Main and Hastings, nicknamed Pain and Wastings.
The problem had proved so intractable that the Canadian government is on the cusp of a radical plan, the first of its type in North America, to solve a handful of opiate-addiction problems by perpetuating one of them -- the addiction. Put simply, local health officials here are about to join the ranks of heroin dealers.
Called the North American Opiate Medications Initiative and funded by the federal Canadian Institute of Health Research, the $8 million program will allow health officials in Vancouver, Montreal and Toronto to distribute for free daily doses of heroin to a small, screened group of longtime addicts.http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/local/211015_heroin07.html