Heroin maintenance program effect on society.
This is a very controversial topic, but after looking at the facts and how Switzerland adopted this program. It changed my perspective of how this program could really solve lots of problems present with heroin addiction and it's danger to society.
My position for this argument is 'Pro", I am supporting the Heroin maintenance program and supporting the view that it should be used in countries where there are heroin epidemics and how it can affect society positively and also to be used much more extensively to cover a much wider range of people.
Con will have to argue against the use of such program and how it will be bad for society and affect it negatively.
R1 - Only reliable sources to be used.
R2 - Personal opinion should be at the end in one or two paragraphs.
R3 - First round is acceptance only.
R4 - Round 4 should be used only if necessary and should not exceed 3,000 characters.
Rounds - 4
Time to argue - 72 hours.
Voting period - 10 days.
Maximum- 10,000 characters.
(NB:- I don't use drugs AT ALL, but I was reading about this program a few days ago and it sparked my interest.)
Alright. I accept.
I would like to thank my opponent for accepting this debate. I hope it will be an interesting debate and surely bot of us can learn something from it. I've made an honest mistake of making this debate three rounds instead of 4, so I spoke to my opponent and she accepted that we post our final comments that were supposed to be in round 4 in the comments section.
Before I start, there are few definitions and basic facts that need to be clarified.
What is Heroin? Heroin or Diamorphine is an opiate analgesic that is synthesized by adding two acetly groups to the morphine molecule that was commonly used in treatment of severe injuries or pain in the same way Morphine is used today .
What are Heroin side effects? Despite commonly held beliefs, Heroin in it's pure form has very few side effects of long term usage other than constipation and dependence . Most of the severe side effects that are associated with Heroin are due to the routes of administration specifically intravenous injection. IV injections carry their own set of problems due to lack of medical supervision, bad practices and "dirty needles". The dangers associated with IV usage are; Overdose, Hepatitis B & C, HIV, Bacterial and yeast infection, Abscesses and Collapsed veins (Will be discussed in detail in a later part of the debate).
What is Heroin Maintenance Program (HMP)? HMP is a program used for long term addicts that do not benefit from alternative treatment methods such as Methadone or Buprenorphine (Suboxone or Subutex). Heroin is prescribed to them in a pure form and are required to appear twice in a clinic to get their doses of Heroin. Studies proved that HMP was much more effective than other treatment programs .
My argument will focus on the HMP and how it can in the long term, be much more beneficiary to society. Also how it should be funded more adequately to cover a wider range of people or to cover all the people who are having trouble with Heroin addiction.
1. Users health, welfare & harm reduction:
As I've mentioned before, most of the risks associated with Heroin are related to the syringe and the contaminants used to "cut" the drug. This is simply eradicated by the simple fact, there are no profits to be made out of the program. Thus, the quality of the drug will be of pharmaceutical grade purity which in itself has no dangers except constipation and dependence as discussed above.
The second benefit will be the medical supervision and clean equipment used to administer the drug. There is a similar example and is widely spread called "Needle Exchange Program". This program supplies IV users with fresh needles and tries to provide users with good technique to prevent them harming themselves. The need for re-using needles or even worse sharing needles is exponentially minimized as users have a steady supply of sterile needles and other sterile paraphernalia that minimizes the need to go through unsafe practices. A research has been conducted and shown that the number of HIV transmission through needle sharing has decreased since the introduction of NEP .
The HMP will eradicate all needle sharing and needle related diseases due to the simple fact that one cannot take the drug and go home. The dose must be administered in the clinic by a medical professional, thus eliminating the need to buy needles since it is provided in the place of usage.
The third benefit will be of preventing overdoses. Most users definitely do not know of Naloxone, an opiod antagonist that reverses the effects of Heroin or opiates in general . However, all HMP have Naloxone in case any user suffers from an opiate overdose. So the risk of overdose is simply diminished since the "cure" is always present.
Fourth benefit will be of the social welfare of the user. Most users adopt the "Junkie lifestyle" due to their inability to afford the drug. This make users unable to hold down a job and in constant search of money and drugs. HMP will provide the users with their drug so the constant searching and financial strain will simply be over, instead users will be able to maintain a job and start a family as been proved by research .
Lastly, HMP has been proved to save money spent on trials and incarceration despite it's high costs . So it's better for the tax payers.
2. Crime rate:
This is one of the more important points. HMP will directly affect the users crime rate and reduce the crime committed to obtain money or the drug. Again the users are provided with the drug, so the need to steal, drug deal, lie or cheat people to support their habit is greatly diminished . In fact, they will be more productive than a liability to society. Drug dealing of Heroin will greatly diminish because there would be no need to buy a contaminated "cut" drug, when the user can easily find the government provided 100% pure form. Dealers will not find value in selling Heroin and will greatly diminish it's value which will reduce the amount of overseas trafficking.
The HMP will put a dent on drug trafficking and dealing and will also affect organized crime substantially. If we take the example of India the world's largest heroin consumer. India spends annually 1.4 billion dollars on Heroin . This money goes to fund gangs, racketeers, etc... This money is diverted into the black market and thus affect the government indirectly. Gangs will lose a good chunk of their income and will have less money to fund their illegal activities.
Another very important point is Narco-terrorism. Opium is most commonly grown in Afghanistan accounting for 87% of the world Heroin . Opium accounts for 4 Billion dollars annually in Afghanistan . This money is used to fund terrorist organization and prolong the war on terror . If HMPs are exclusively found in the world, the value of Heroin will drop. Making Afghan farmers finding the cultivation and growing of Opium unsatisfactory and will start relying on other plants. So as long as the world supply of Heroin is coming from Afghanistan the war on terror will not stop.
I have presented arguments about the potential benefits of HMP and it's potential benefits if it is used more exclusively. There were much more to tell but I decided to keep it simple for the time being till my opponent replies and provide more arguments if needed. People who might claim that this could lead to a rise in Heroin use has already been proved wrong according to some researches .
Another point that might irritate some people is addiction itself. But people seem to forget that there are legal substances that has more severe addictions than Heroin such as Alcohol or Benzodiazpines. Cold turkey from either would result in death, while Heroin cold turkey very rarely results in death.
In conclusion, I believe that this is solution to an already bad scenario that we are in since the war on drugs commenced. The money used to combat and continue the war on drugs and drug related crimes could be used to open rehabilitation centers, counseling groups and other supportive systems that will help people get rid of their addictions. Otherwise, I see nothing changes.
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Wodak, A.; Cooney, A. (2004). "Effectiveness of Sterile Needle and Syringe Programming in Reducing HIV/AIDS Among Injecting Drug Users". World Health Organization. Retrieved 18 July 2013.
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 McGirk, Tim (2 August 2004). "Terrorism's Harvest: How al-Qaeda is tapping into the opium trade to finance its operations and destabilize Afghanistan". Time Magazine Asia. Retrieved 22 October 2006.
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dyptiques forfeited this round.
I really hoped this would be an interesting debate, but my opponent forfeits and there is nothing i can do sadly. Hope to see her argument in the next round.
dyptiques forfeited this round.