Insite is called the only “safe-injection site” (SIS) in North America where addicts can legally inject hard drugs under medical supervision. Governing the States and Localities highlighted the facility in a February 2013 health and human services article saying “officials describe Insite as the first rung on the ladder from chronic drug addiction to recovery.” Not without controversy, Prime Minister Stephen Harper is said to be one of the critics and there have been repeated efforts to shut the the operation down. Today the Vancouver Sun reports a BC-based national coalition of drug policy experts have denounced the Harper government’s aggressive war on drugs, which puts the emphasis on law enforcement while steering money away from harm-reduction initiatives like Vancouver’s supervised injection site.
“Innocent until proven guilty” – or so the saying goes. Presumption of innocence is the basis for equality before the Law but not necessarily with the public. With emergence of an electronic information highway word now travels at the speed of light. If its good news, great! Bad news, not so great. The masses have an attraction for gossip and scandal, like insects have to sweets. A good number are eagerly awaiting and anxious to spread the titillating news. Those who are the focus of attention, innocent or not, receive praise or scorn in the court of public opinion. So, is it right that Toronto Mayor Rob Ford should be showered by negative press and be the butt of late night talk show hosts? Whether innocent or guilty what gets said requires tough skin and a sense of humour. For example The Wrap – Covering Hollywood reports comedian Jon Stewart quipped: “Hey, don’t judge him! Maybe he’s cleaning up the city by smoking all the crack in it. You’re next, prostitution rings.” In spite of all the furor, indignation and yes, laughs – Joe Warmington of the Toronto Sun correctly reminds that the mayor has not been charged. Does that matter? It should. Anyway, Toronto’s Rob Ford is likely to remain in close public scrutiny until the truth is known – and perhaps then some.