Mind if I smoke?

According to this story from the CBC, crack addicts in Vancouver are after a safe place to smoke a few rocks. This follows the apparent success of a safe injection site for heroin addicts which opened in Vancouver last year. According to one crack addict, “It’s just really high strung standing in this alley, because you’re exposed not only to the cops, but to every form of violence.” Excuse this aging liberal for sounding flippant, but haven’t back alleys in urban centres been dangerous, for anybody engaged in any behaviour, since the world’s first mugging? (No, I don’ have any fucking idea when and where that was, but I’m fairly certain it happened long before crack was invented.) One is tempted to ask, well, what about a “safe-taking-a-shortcut-at-night room”? Or, a “safe-I-paid-the-bitch-now-I-want-my-blowjob room”? Hell, as a smoker (of cigarettes) I’d be happy to find a place(from past experience) in Vancouver where it was safe to smoke tobacco.
I suppose I should clear up a possible mis-understanding. For the record, I’m in favour of a safe injection place for heroin addicts (or other needle users). It’s pretty simple, really. People sharing their dirty needles is a public health issue, connected to, but to a degree separable from the broader social issue of drugs (which should never be a criminal issue–see, I’m a liberal!!). Catching a cold from sharing a crack pipe is not on the same public health plane as catching AIDS from sharing a needle.
There always have been, and always will be ‘back alleys’. They have never and will never be ‘safe’. This is neither a good nor a bad thing. It may be a necessary thing. I would suggest that anyone who has never been in a back alley probably doesn’t have a clear picture of life/reality.
(Heh, as Black Sabbath’s “War Pigs” droned in my headphones, I thought I’d try out the spellcheck for this site. It suggested I replace CBC with CBS….)


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