Viewpoint—Slavery Is Alive and Well and Supported by Local Government

The man collapsed on the street in Tongva Park. Efforts to revive him failed and he died.                Photo: John Alle

The site, Anti-Slavery defines modern slavery as when “an individual is exploited by others for personal or commercial gain. Whether tricked, coerced, or forced, they lose their freedom.”

People, who are addicted to drugs/alcohol have lost control of their lives and are under a chemical master.

The drug master is so powerful, people will do anything to get it, including stealing, have promiscuous sex, sleeping on the streets, alienating and losing people they love and risking death.

It is distressing that the L.A. County of Public Health is supporting the drug master in the form of needles and acceptance, rather than therapy and mental health.

A Palisades resident John Alle discovered used needles and condoms littering three Santa Monica parks, Palisades, Reed and Tongva. He discovered the needle program had started in 2019 through L.A. County Department of Public Health under Dr. Barbara Ferrer.

This editor reached out to the L.A. County Department of Public Health about the program, which is called “harm reduction.”

Ferrer’s office responded in a May 31 email to CTN “Harm reduction services have been demonstrated to reduce overdose deaths, reduce the public use of injectable drugs, reduce transmission of communicable diseases such as HIV/AID and hepatitis, increase access to substance use services, reduce the use of emergency medical services, and prevent the disruption of public safety.”

CTN asked for the stats that show that the program works, that people with addition are helped.

There are no stats to support that this is an effective program for those addicted. The County calls it an “evidence-based” program.

Photo: John Alle

This editor felt it was heartbreaking to see a kid born in 1999 request syringes/Narcan from the L.A. County’s free needle service, via the Venice Family Clinic. This 24-year-old has a family somewhere that might not know he’s alive, and they won’t, with its current program.

The selling point of harm reduction is that at some point the individual will realize that he/she needs to kick drugs and then seek help.

That’s magical thinking, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.  “The initial decision to take drugs is typically voluntary. But with continued use, a person’s ability to exert self-control can become seriously impaired. This impairment in self-control is the hallmark of addiction,” and “when you’re addicted you may continue using the drug despite the harm it causes.”

Basically, if one is addicted, they are the slave of the drug, and can’t think clearly or logically. The probably are not going to wake up one day, and say, “I’m going to stop using drugs today.”

With its program, the L.A. County of Public Health enables the “master,” ensuring those enslaved stay that way.

And the budget for this program, “harm reduction” has been increased this year from $5.4 to $31.5 million (tax-payer dollars).

Photo: John Alle

The California Globe’s May 11 story (Crystal Meth Pipe Distribution to Addicts, Homeless Draws Increased Criticism in L.A.”) wrote “A nonprofit program in Los Angeles that passes out crystal meth pipes to addicts for ‘safety’ continued to receive criticism on Thursday as more leaders and members of the public have come out publicly against the practice.”

According to reports, members of Homeless Healthcare Los Angeles primarily distribute these in the Skid Row area of the city. Riding in golf cart, they then pass out crystal meth pipes to the homeless and addicts who want them. While the action has brought outrage, the non-profit, as well as some drug addiction healthcare workers, have said that the service is essential as it is a safety issue and reduces harm.

At least one radio talk-show host has said that harm reduction is just another way of dealing with the homeless, by allowing them to die in the streets.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse, notes that drug use and other mental illness often co-exist. Both need to be treated. Giving addicts clean needles and condoms and waiting for them to realize they need treatment, is ineffective.

The Institute says to treat addiction behavioral therapies are needed: Cognitive-behavioral therapy, Contingency management, Motivational enhancement therapy, Family therapy and a Twelve-step facilitation (an individual therapy typically delivered in 12 weekly sessions to prepare people to become engaged in 12-step mutual support programs).

By adopting “harm reduction,” the L.A. County Department of Public Health has become the pimp to the slave master.

And, the County has plans to expand its program to other L.A. Parks.

The county offers treatment ideas on its website methfreelacounty.org—so if an addict is googling treatment and recovery programs, there is advice available.

Or residents can ask the County to take real action.

The Santa Monica Coalition has started a petition to end needle distribution in its city. https://actionnetwork.org/letters/7587e83044587c236c72dd404b02de831c7b2f94?source=direct_link&

Palisades residents who may want to forestall a similar program here, can write to L.A. County Supervisor Lindsey Horvath and tell her that they support real help for those with addictions, not needles.

Photo: John Alle

This entry was posted in Community, Homelessness. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Viewpoint—Slavery Is Alive and Well and Supported by Local Government

  1. Judith Freed says:

    I have just one comment. What is the solution that you would propose to help this very intractable problem?

  2. Denise Doyen says:

    There are now dozens upon dozens of research studies showing exactly what Ferrer’s office said. If the editor, took 5 minutes to google “academic research studies of the effectiveness of needle exchange programs” you’d find a whole slew.

    Here’s the CDC opinion after 30 years of careful tracking observation.
    https://www.cdc.gov/ssp/syringe-services-programs-summary.html

    Now… there are several cities around the country that have reduced the number of discarded needles by installing drop boxes at key locations where homeless and drug addicts are known to hang out. And perhaps that would be a helpful idea for LA.

    But the huge taxpayer cost and hospital drain for the healthcare of AIDS patients, and the uptick in HIV, Hep C etc. transmission and deaths that occur when dirty, shared needles are the norm? Is not what I think LA needs or that you are after.

    It’s important to actually do SERIOUS FACT BASED RESEARCH and not just consider one unanswered question as evidence that there is none in the world. That is shoddy reporting.

  3. Sue says:

    Denise,

    I can’t stand to watch people die on the street. I would defer to Reverend Andy Bales and encourage you to see what someone who has worked with addicts for years says. I don’t disagree there are articles that say the same thing that Ferrer’s office does, but there are literally no statistics or studies to prove harm reduction is helpful for addicts, now. At one point, when it was first implemented, it might have been a lifesaver, but with today’s drugs, it might no longer be the best solution.

    Sue

  4. Sue M. says:

    I totally agree with you Sue. Reverend Andy Bales has been working with the addicted homeless for years. His method works to not only get people off the streets, but they get the help they need to stop their addictive life whether it is with drugs or alcohol. The process is slow but effective. The Union Rescue Mission would be a much better place to invest the cities time, “experts” and tax dollars. Some object because it is faith based, but the faith he emphasizes is for each person to learn to have faith in themselves which they have lost and replaced with drugs. Just replacing needles is not the answer. It is just a bandaid.

  5. Bill F says:

    The problem will never be solved until the liberals stop worrying about the civil rights of these drug addicted and mentally ill people. You are not doing them a favor by letting them slowly die on the street. If we enforced the laws that we have with regards to vagrancy and public nuisance and forcefully placed these people in one large facility like army barracks that would be cheaply built and have all the necessary medical and psychiatric help in one location rather than building these ridiculously expensive small living facilities all over the city and putting them in housing that they dont want. Housing should be reserved for those that have graduated from the central facility and are ready to be a part of civilized society.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *