Torontoist usually ignores the knee jerk ravings of Rosie DiManno but felt that today’s column on the city’s decision to further explore the idea of a safe injection site crossed several lines and was just plain asinine.
“So let me get this straight: I can’t smoke cigarettes in Toronto but I can smoke crack?,” DiManno starts and from there she proceeds to make “presumptive” arguments that are radically insensitive and plain out of touch.
She equates the city’s crackdown on smoking and senses hypocrisy on their softness on the crack problem that plagues certain neighbourhoods in the city. What she forgets is that one of the main reasons smoking indoors has been made difficult is second-hand smoke. Anyone that’s worked in a busy bar or restaurant in the pre-smoking days can tell you just how much smoke they were breathin in. Smokers aren’t “pariahs” (her words, not mine) Rosie we just want to make sure they don’t slowly poison the rest of us.
Then there’s this doozy of a statement; “The report’s authors do acknowledge that supervised consumption sites — a 50-cent euphemism for what most of us would call a crack house — would provoke tremendous controversy, as indeed the matter did, does, within the committee’s own membership.” I’m not sure how DiManno would know what the inside of a crack house looks like but unless half of them have nicely lit cubicles, provide counselling and trained medical professionals like this one in Vancouver the comment just sparks of fear mongering and NIMBYism.
The there’s the issue of the stigma of drug use. Torontoist hopes that of all people in the city the Toronto Drug Strategy Advisory Committee are the ones with the most progressive, open minded and tolerant view of drug use. Lord knows that large segments of the public would rather see drug users put in prison, carted off somewhere else, basically ignored and out of sight. There’s plenty of stigma there already we don’t need the City’s institutions and those who are supposed to be finding solutions to the drug problem adding to it.
If DiManno wants to smoke crack she can, what she’ll soon find out is that there are few resources to help you get clean. Sadly, you can’t buy crack in chewing gum form (Crackerette?) or patches over the counter at Shoppers. Equating crack and cigarettes just isn’t fair, isn’t accurate and muddies an already difficult and painful issue.
Torontoist also wants to point out that the Toronto Public Space Committee is holding a fundraising screening of Fix, a film about Canada’s only safe injection site in Vancouver. Hardhitting and timely considering the recent news in Toronto. Tuesday, 7pm, Bloor Cinema.