Helping people out of addiction is one thing; failing to take seriously the very real consequences of rejecting harm reduction based on either mandate or ideology is quite another.
Circumventing the transmission of communicable disease, as well as avoiding associated health care costs and, ultimately, any societal impacts thereof, (via a publicly funded needle exchange) is not only, comparatively speaking, sound public policy, it is a bargain in the long term as it is essential to the well-being of all within the community and beyond.
Even if zero tolerance approaches do represent the national drug strategy, it does not confer upon the federal government any entitlement or imperative liable to put the nation’s health and well-being at risk.
Needle exchange programs make available, to the addict, options that zero tolerance approaches won’t/don’t. Encouraging hygienic practice among addicts, as well as the humane treatment thereof, is not mollycoddling addicts; it recalls demonstrated hallmark traits once synonymous with Canadian standards.
Harm reduction goes to safeguarding both the community and the addict whereas the zero tolerance approach fails to consider the wider societal implications of the consequences of that which is encouraged by the zero tolerance set.