Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘drug addiction’

“In the days after her brother-in-law’s death inside the Hamilton-Wentworth Detention Centre, Tracy Sharp watched in disbelief as negative comments made by people who never met him started to pile up on social media.

“One less person on our tax payers [sic] dime,” read one.

“Thin the herd,” read another.

But one comment in particular stopped her cold: “Who cares,” wrote Kevin Hale, whose Facebook profile says he works for the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services.

“Is this the kind of people that work there, treating them like animals?” she wondered.

“If these are the kind of people who are supposed to be in control and looking out for these guys, that doesn’t bode well.”

In a statement to CBC News, a spokesperson for the ministry would not say if it’s investigating Hale’s comments or if he will face any sort of reprimand because it does not comment on “human resources matters.”

“The personal opinions expressed by our employee do not reflect the values of our ministry nor of the vast majority of correctional staff,” wrote Brent Ross.

I care and so do the families of all of these other people who have died. – Tracy Sharp

Christopher “Johnny” Sharp died at the Barton Street jail Friday afternoon of a suspected drug overdose. His death comes just months after a marathon inquest into eight overdose deaths at the facility the produced 62 recommendations aimed at improving everything from security and health services to surveillance.

The ministry has six months to respond. In the meantime, inquests have also been announcedinto the deaths of two other HWDC inmates — Brennan Bowley and Ryan McKechnie.

Not just a mug shot

Beyond questions about how drugs continue to get into the jail and kill inmates, Sharp’s family is left struggling to understand why people would go out of their way to attack a hurting family trying to hold onto memories of the man they loved.

“Johnny isn’t just a mug shot and a rap sheet,” said Tracy. “He was a person and like a lot of addicts and people who get caught up in the system, he wasn’t always like this.”

Carol, Johnny’s mother, remembers the 53-year-old as a gentle boy with a mischievous sense of humour before addiction and 30 years spent bouncing between jails, prisons and halfway houses.

As a child he loved sports and art — later in life he became a tattoo artist who created his own complex designs.

Tracy knew Johnny for almost 15 years and said some of her her fondest memories are of him playing with her kids.

“He was just so sweet, I only know the sweet side to him. I don’t know that rap sheet Johnny."”

– Dan Taekema, “‘Who cares?’ asks corrections worker after inmate dies inside Hamilton jail.CBC News, September 14, 2018.

Read Full Post »

“Say ‘Phil the Jew’ Is Morphine King,” Toronto Globe. September 1, 1916. Page 08.

Two Persons Arrested Are Described as Wrecks of Morphine Ring

Murray Hebert, aged twenty-three, 568 Dufferin street, and Earl Lankin, 115 McGill street, both of whom are described by the police as wrecks of the morphine ring, which is controlled by one known only as ‘Phil, the Jew,’ were taken into custody yesterday afternoon by Morality Constable Kerr and Boyd, and charged with having morphine in their possession.

Their own admissions, according to the police, substantiate the charges made. Hebert is said to have been a bank teller at Port Colborne, who lost his employment through the habit of which he has been a victim for the past six months. He declared that the source of his supply was Lankin.

Lankin was arrested in Simpson’s store. It is claimed that he has used morphine for the past fourteen months. He admitted that he knew a score or more of drug fiends, all of whom are known to the police, and that he obtained his morphine from ‘Phil, the Jew.’

This stranger mentioned by all fiends since their arrest is not a fictitious character, according to the police. None knows him by any other than this name. Within the past six weeks, the nine who have been charged with the illegal possession, use or sale of morphine have hesitatingly   admitted that they obtained their supply from this person.

John McConkey, long since disowned by his father, who resides in Toronto, is a third victim of the ring. He is now awaiting trial.

Read Full Post »

“Meal times at Tomoka Correctional Institution Work Camp look like a scene straight out of the “Walking Dead,” a former employee of 10 years told the Miami Herald.

“Everywhere you turn, inmates are walking around like zombies,” said officer Keith Raimundo, who quit in June amid disagreements with the administration and mounting frustrations with how the facility was run. “Every other inmate coming into the chow hall is high.”

The scene at the mess hall follows a predictable script, Raimundo told the Herald: Red-eyed inmates shuffle in to get their dinner and sit down to eat, uncoordinated limbs struggling to place food in their mouths. Frequently, he said, someone “falls out,” common vernacular for an overdose. The inmate might faceplant unconscious into his food tray, or slip from his seat, foaming at the mouth, twitching, all of his muscles seizing. At Tomoka, it’s too common an occurrence to be alarming.

“Everybody thinks it’s funny,” said Raimundo. That includes the inmates and officers, he said.

But it’s not funny. It’s deadly. And it’s not just Tomoka.

“It is a statewide issue. The number of incidents at Tomoka is not disproportionate with the rest of the state,” said FDC spokesperson Michelle Glady in a statement.

The past two years have each been the deadliest in Florida prison history, consecutively. And 2018 figures to be worse yet. Total deaths this year are on track to exceed 500 for the first time, a previously unthinkable threshold. And every year, more younger people are dying. The spike in mortality is paralleled by a dramatic rise in “accidental deaths,” up from 12 in 2016 to 62 in 2017. Those are mostly drug overdoses, according to the department.

The top killer, according to an internal FDC audit: synthetic marijuana, more commonly called K2 or Spice. It’s the same drug that just made national headlines when 70 people overdosed in 24 hours in New Haven, Conn., home of Yale University.

Synthetic marijuana is a misnomer, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. While synthetic cannabinoids are supposed to trigger the same receptors in the brain as THC, the naturally occurring component in marijuana that produces a high, the chemical makeup of K2 is unique from traditional marijuana. Unlike its natural counterpart, synthetic marijuana can cause aggressive behavior, hallucinations, heart attacks, seizures like the ones Raimundo described as “falling out,” and death.

“That stuff is killing people left and right,” Raimundo said.

There is no single chemical makeup of synthetic marijuana, so in practice, it can be made of almost anything. In prison, it often contains traces of roach spray and rat poison.

“There are dozens of different chemicals that are used as synthetic cannabinoids,” said Dr. Tegan Boehmer, of the CDC’s National Center for Environmental Health. “They are very dangerous because there are a lot of unknowns.”

The few death investigation summaries made available online by the department offer a partial glimpse of the problem. Last year, at Franklin Correctional Institution, Eugene Martin fell forward suddenly out of bed, dead from K2. At Mayo Correctional Institution, Hakim Ramatoola had a seizure and died after smoking K2 described by others who participated as “the worst ever.” Jarquez Jones died at Santa Rosa after smoking an unusual-looking black K2. Jamil Wright overdosed at Martin Correctional. Ruben Harris and Calvin Johnson at Holmes Correctional Institution. Jesse Johnson at Okaloosa Correctional Institution. All in the last half of 2017. And the list goes on.

The department does not keep statistics on non-lethal overdoses. Still, it acknowledges that overdoses related to synthetic marijuana use have gotten so frequent in Florida prisons that the FDC created an informational video about the dangers of the drug and showed it to all 96,253 inmates. Incoming inmates now watch it as part of their intake process.”

– Sarah Blaskey, “This drug is turning Florida inmates into ‘zombies.’ It’s fueling a record death toll.” Miami Herald, August 21, 2018

Read Full Post »

“‘Big Push’ Has Begun On The Drug Habit,” Toronto Star. July 28, 1916. Page 14.

Three Cases Were Tried To-Day and Two Jail Farm Sentences Given.

OUTFITS CONFISCATED

One of Those Charged Said Dead Mother Had Owned Paraphernalia

From the fact that three cases of alleged illegal use of morphine and other related opiates followed each other in the Police Court calendar to-day, it would appear that the police had begun to start their ‘big push’ against the ‘coke’ traffic, which recent convictions would seem to prove was waxing as the liquor traffic waned.

An elaborate outfit, consisting of hypodermic needles, syringes, a pair of scales and a quantity of morphine sulphate, approximating to 60 grains, formed substantial evidence against Harry Fontroy. Plainclothesmen Scott and Neill testified to having found the foregoing line-up in Fontroy’s possession and to have caught him in the act of injecting the illegal drug in his arm.

The young man, who has both African and Chinese blood in his veins, claimed that he had been cured of the habit. ‘That outfit belonged to my mother, who died two weeks ago. I found it in her drawer,’ he pleaded. Inspector Geddes disproved this claim by quoting a statement which the young man had made to him. He had admitted that he was ‘tapering off with 30 grains a day.’

‘The last time he appeared on this charge he was given leniency on the understanding that he inform the police the source of his illegal supplies. He has not done this.’ said Mr. Corley. Col. Denison committed him to the jail farm for five months.

‘Coke’ Vendor Jailed.
In addition to the foregoing charge, that of having morphine in his possession for other than medicinal purposes, had coupled against him the police claim that he had sold the drug.

In his possession had been found some dozen packages of both cocaine and morphine which Drake had acknowledged he had been in the habit of selling for a dollar a package.

‘This man, I hear, has been taking from 30 to 40 grains a day,’ said the Crown Attorney.

‘He has had consumption for the last eight or nine years,’ his wife stated in explanation of his drug habit.

‘I am curing him slowly,’ she added.

Drake also goes to the jail farm for a five-month ‘cure.’ In the woman’s court Tillie Evans faced with the same charge received a remand for a week.

Proof Enough.
The actions of Isaac Gilbert spoke louder than his words in proving the charge of drunkeness and disorderliness alleged against him. Eveidence showed that he endeavored to take on six feet two of solid constanbulary muscle, and in addition ‘lick the whole street.’

‘You must have been very drunk,’ sighed the squire. An added count against him was his association with a team of horses. The squire felt grieved that the noble animals had to witness such an orgy of inebriation. Remanded for sentences.

Quick Work.
One minute sufficed to change Jerry Long from a prisoner in the dock with a long and substantial record of drunkeness into laborer with the prospect of two months’ healthy toil ahead. Squire Ellis merely looked at Long and knew that his record resembled his name. Twnety dollars and costs or sixty days.

Got the Habit.
Jeremiah Flaherty has the polishing habit. He, according to his own statement, polishes off brass in the day time, and according to the constable, polishes off drinks in quick succession at night. Yesterday he appeared on the same charge. It was but a little drop ‘for his stomach’s sake,’ he claimed. Remanded for sentence.

Hostilities.
As both Sandy Jaegar and John Jacobson with one accord disclaimed responsibility for the hostilities in whcih they were found engaged, the court presumed that it must have been the heat of a case of spontaneous combustion. Police evidence, however, tended to show that Jacobson had figured prominently, both at the start and the finish. He was fined $2 and costs or ten days.

‘Pinched’ a Pom.
That Daniel J. O’Shea should consider a pomeranian dog worth the trouble of annexing, appeared rather strange to Col. Denison when O’Shea pleaded guilty to the offence. The owner placed the value at over $10. ‘I consider dogs worth about ten cents gross,’ interjected his Worship. ‘The man stole the dog and sold it to a Mr. Walters for $10,’ explained the Crown Attorney. ‘Mr. Walters subsequently saw the animal advertised for, and at once communicated with the police. O’Shea, who had ‘blown in’ the proceeds of his act, was remanded one week for sentence, on the understanding that restitution would be made. Pinky Pankey Poo was permitted to meander home with his mistress.

Poetry and Prose.
Frank Martin’s poetry, prose and actions are equally bad, according to Squire Ellis’ ruling after a perusal of all. On a grimy car the alleged poet submitted the following:

‘To-day a poor cripple appeales for your aid.
Don’t turn with a sneer or a frown,
For God in His Mercy is the only one knows
When a loved one of yours will go down.’

The prose followed.

‘Price – Please give what you wish.’

His actions, described by himself, were living an exemplary life, and the brisk bartering of many pencils, described by several feminine witnesses, they consist of the exploitation of the grimy quatrain, a fond pressure of the hand, and the claim that he was a wounded warrior back from the war. – $50 and costs or six months.

Not content with the profit pouring into the coffers of his ice-cream soda fountain by reason of the weatherman’s climbing thermometer, Dragutin Radinrobitch, according to the police, ran a sideline in the form of a gambling den. The charge alleged that he permitted these quiet numbers round the table in his ice-cream parlors. Four guilty – $20 and costs or 30 days.

Read Full Post »

British Columbia Penitentiary inmates believe controlled
maintenance of drug addicts could be at least
one tenth cheaper than the cost of incarceration. An
outline of the British Columbia inmate brief on drug
maintenance is given here – one of many outlets
the inmate group has found to air its views…

A bold approach that could help stabilize the heroin addict,
reduce black marketeering and curb the crime rate among
addicts is being aired in western Canada.

According to a group of 14 inmates at British Columbia
Penitentiary, legalized heroin maintenance is the answer.
They contend present programs are “obsolete and hopeless
failures.” All the inmates are over 30, heroin addicts for 10
years or more and with lengthy criminal records.

Most are recidivists. To them the word recidivist is the key to
understanding why they want change in their treatment.

Through a well thought out submission on why they want to
be clinically maintained as drug addicts while serving time,
they tell society “we are heroin addicts for life. We cannot
be cured, only locked up from time to time when you catch
us breaking the law.”

“Your programs cannot help us and we refuse to pretend
any more that they can. Even if it means we forfeit our
chances of early parole we are determined to draw attention
to the facts.
"But we do believe that heroin addicts can function as productive
members of society providing we are not treated as
criminals and offered rehabilitative programs that include
maintenance.”

A year ago the B.C. inmates approached classification officer
Irene Blenkiron about forming a drug study group. Mrs.
Blenkiron listened to their reasons and agreed to become
involved. A registered psychiatric nurse and sociologist,
Irene Blenkiron has spent 13 years helping people with
emotional problems. For two years, she worked among addicts
and traffickers in downtown Vancouver where she saw
death among drug users.

With her help, the inmates brief has been exposed in newspapers,
radio, television, and various professional journals
in Canada and the U.S. They have talked to groups and
individuals, sociologists and members of parliament. Reaction
has often been favorable, understanding. But progress
is slow. The concept of their brief is thought of as being too
revolutionary to gain overnight acceptance.

After talking to the inmates, one MP remarked, “People
think only of punishing prisoners, not rehabilitating them.
The penal system is at least 30 years behind the times so it
will be a tough one to sell.” Other reactions — society
looks on the addict as a criminal deserving retribution as
much for taking drugs as for stealing to buy them. At best he
is sick, but threatening like a psychopath or child molester.
Either way he should be locked up.

The B.C. group points out the addict was seen neither as
sick nor criminal in the early 1900’s. Anti-opiate legislation

changed that and overnight transformed addicts into
criminals.

“Now in an age of social understanding and enlightened
attitudes, the addict is regarded as being sick and criminal,”
says the group’s official brief. “Yet he is no different than he
was prior to the change in the law. Society, in assigning
roles, has branded the addict a criminal. The addict, through
necessity, has become a consummate actor at filling the
role. If society were to assign the role of ‘citizen’ to the
addict it would find that role filled with equal alacrity.”
They contend the British program of controlled heroin or
substitution maintenance is the only one they have come
across that is “firmly grounded in the realities of life.” Legal
and controlled doses of heroin — or its substitute
methadone supplied at designated areas — “has managed
to stabilize the addict population and allow these people to
pursue and explore life styles unrelated to crime,”
they claim.

Instead of the addict being an expense to society through
his criminal activities and incarceration, he could become
self-supporting, productive, they insist. “We accept the fact

we will always be addicts and there will always be addicts,”
their brief continues. They want an experimental drug
maintenance program started within the penitentiary.

At the moment these are only opinions, expressed sincerely
but frankly and forcefully by each inmate addict. What they
ask for is a chance to see if their program will work where
others apparently fail.

They insist “the drug study group does not intend nor desire
to use a drug maintenance program as a vehicle to provide
a form of legal drugs while incarcerated. We believe it is
essential that a program of addiction to injectable
methadone, heroin, morphine or dialudid be implemented
within the prison system.”

Their reasons for seeking this program?

• Most addicts return to the illicit use of narcotics immediately,
or a short time after release. Because of the present
sources of supply, the addict cannot escape the role of
criminal.

• Addicts newly released from prison are perpetuating a
social problem already deemed acute.

• Present prison rehabilitation programs are self-defeating
because the addict is excluded from most programs,
because it is felt he will only try to obtain drugs.

What does it all add up to? Fourteen inmates at B.C.
Penitentiary have stood up and been counted. With the help
of their classification officer they have become a legitimate,
serious minded forum within the institution.
They have refused to continue playing the “cure” and
“treatment” game. Their views run counter to public opinion.
Perhaps they haven’t even a slim chance of achieving their
objective.

“We would like to participate in bringing about change,” is
how the inmates explain their adamant stand. Time will tell
whether they get the opportunity – but to the addicts time
is one commodity they can all afford.

“We Are What We Are
– Addicts,” Discussion. Vol. 2, No. 1, 1974. 

Photo caption: “Controlled maintenance of drug
addicts is the reaction of 14
inmates to many years of imprisonment
on charges emanating
from drug addiction. At
British Columbia Penitentiary
they have used various
methods to get their message
to correctional officiais and the
public. lnmates (left) D. W. Valouche
and John McKeoff, both
members of the B.C. inmate
drug group, air their views on
CKNW Vancouver. Gary Bannerman
(centre), program
moderator, took his talk-show
into British Columbia Penitentiary.
Public reaction could
have kept the show going long
into overtime.”

Read Full Post »

“There are, in Canada, more than three thousand
users of narcotic drugs. They live mostly in metropolitan
areas and approximately half of them reside
Vancouver or its environs. Their criminal activities
to support their habits and the threat of others being
lured into using narcotics through association with
them has caused grave concern. 

Since possession of narcotic drugs became a
criminal offence in Canada persons convicted of possession and sentenced to terms of two years or
ore have been incarcerated in our penitentiaries and
they had the same training programs as other criminals sentenced to penitentiary. They have not, however, usually been considered as suitable for transfer to medium or minimum security institutions. Furthermore,
until fairly recently they have seldom been released
on ticket of leave or parole. 

As the largest concentration of narcotic addicts
Canada is in the Vancouver area it was logical to build the institution in the lower mainland of British Columbia. The site selected is in the municipality of
Matsqui. It lies a quarter of a mile south of the Trans-
Canada Highway on the outskirts of the town of Abbotsford. It is approximately thirty miles east of the British Columbia Penitentiary in New Westminster. The speed limit on the Trans-Canada Highway is 70 miles per hour and one can easily drive between the
2 institutions in thirty-five minutes. 

The reserve at Matsqui consists of two hundred sixty acres. It is a mile long and rectangular in

shape. The buildings are in three main groups. At
the north end of the property is the male unit. It is
completely enclosed by a chain-link fence. At the
south end is the female unit also surrounded by a
chain-link fence. On either side of a north-south
road running through the property are the main administration
building, powerhouse, stores and incinerator
building. The buildings are constructed largely of
pre-stressed, pre-cast concrete. With the exception of
the male and female accommodation buildings and the
reception-dissociation wing of the male administration
building, they are single storey buildings. 

The Matsqui Institution provides living accommodation
for 312 male inmates and 128 female inmates.
This ratio closely approximates that of the
total male and female criminal addict population of
Canada. In addition to the foregoing accommodation,

there are reception areas in both the male and female
units which will house 25 and 15 inmates respectively.
The accommodation buildings are of three storeys in
the male unit and two storeys in the female unit. They
are cruciform in shape with four wings leading out of
a central control area on each floor with a common
room for each wing. All housing is of the single room
variety. Doors are electrically unlocked, and barriers
are electrically operated, from consoles in the control
centre on each floor. Each room has an electronic
control panel which provides two-way voice communication
with the control centre and also permits selection
of a variety of radio frequencies. All rooms are
outside cells and the traditional steel bars are replaced
with concrete sun screens. Only one-quarter of the
cells are provided with plumbing fixtures, as in an
ordinary prison. It is anticipated that the comprehensive
communications will allow communal toilets to be
used by inmates during the night hours. 

Adjacent to the accommodation building in both
the male and female units are other buildings which
provide space for various community activities. There
are the kitchen and dining rooms, auditorium and gym,
change room, hobby shop, library and school classrooms.
These facilities are connected by covered walks.
The chapels which are soon to be erected will also
be sited in this area. A spacious exercise yard lies
behind each accommodation building. In a separate
enclosure to one side of each unit is the shop area. The
usual maintenance shops are already built. The industrial
and vocational shops will be constructed in the
next fiscal year. Each unit is equipped with a hospital
in which adequate medical and dental treatment will
be provided for all but serious cases. In each unit
there is a pilot treatment unit where selected inmates,
isolated from the rest of the population, will receive
intensive psychotherapy. 

The physical plant at Matsqui is spacious and
will provide adequate facilities to carry out the manifold
activities that make up a modern correctional
training program. To anyone who has worked in one,
or who is familiar with the older, overcrowded and
inadequate institutions of the Canadian Penitentiary
Service, such as Kingston, St. Vincent de Paul or
British Columbia Penitentiary, the first impressions of
Matsqui are breathtaking. However, though the plant
and equipment are important, the worth of a penal
institution depends on people — the people who are
incarcerated there and the people who work there. 

Initially the male inmate population of Matsqui
will be made up of those inmates presently serving
sentences in the B.C. Penitentiary and whose case
histories indicate that they are drug addicts. To this
group will be added those with similar case histories

who are sentenced to penitentiary after the Matsqui Institution is in operation. Drug addicts who are considered
to be grave security risks or who have histories
of violent, aggressive behaviour will not go to Matsqui.
Actually, few drug, addicts in British Columbia are in
either of these categories. The first female inmates for
Matsqui will be drug addicts from British Columbia
currently serving sentences in the Prison for Women,
at Kingston. Subsequently admissions will come from the courts of British Columbia.

What manner of people are these who will be at
Matsqui? Though generalizations are dangerous, quite
a lot can be said about them collectively. The male
criminal drug addict committed to penitentiary is usually
of white Caucasian extraction. In most cases he
will have served previous sentences in some type of
prison for criminal acts committed prior to becoming
addicted. Even if he has never been in prison before
he will almost certainly have been delinquent. He is
not, therefore, a criminal because of his addiction. The
addiction is an additional form of delinquency he has
picked up. The addict’s median age will be a little
higher than that of all penitentiary inmates as will also
be his level of education. He will be in the upper
brackets of average intelligence with a median I.Q.
five or six points above the average for all penitentiary
inmates. His addiction will almost certainly be to
heroin, though he may have used a variety of other
dangerous drugs when heroin was unavailable to him
or in short supply. 

The addict is most likely to be dependent, narcissistic,
and irresponsible, with a low frustrating tolerance,
and poor ability to relate to others. His life
history probably gives a picture of poor achievement,
instability or maladjustment in such aspects of his life
as school, work, marriage and use of leisure time.

Matsqui Staff

The Matsqui staff establishment approved by
Treasury Board provides three hundred and thirty-three
full-time positions. Compared to standards prevailing
in other Canadian Penitentiary Service Institutions and
in most other jurisdictions this gives an unusually high
ratio of staff to inmates. There is a full-time psychiatrist
and another will be appointed after the institution is
in operation. There are also five psychologists, eleven
classification officers, four guidance officers, six academic
teachers, twenty-one vocational training instructors,
ten industrial supervisors and instructors, seven
other inmate training officers and two chaplains. In
addition to the foregoing many of the other staff members
will be engaged in the supervision and training of
inmates. There are one hundred and fifty-three correctional
officer positions. Those correctional officers
showing a talent for influencing and guiding inmates
toward self-improvement will be, as far as possible, kept
on assignments that will require continuous contact
With the same groups of inmates. They will take part in the group counselling programs, supervised by trained
counsellors and if they show a talent for counselling
will be trained to conduct groups of their own. 

The inmate training program at Matsqui will be
both versatile and flexible in order to deal with each
inmate as an individual following an assessment of his
strengths and weaknesses. An eight-hour, on-the-job,

workday will be in effect with the object of conditioning
the inmate to the demands of employment in free
society. Vocational training and on-the-job training
in industrial shops will teach, to those who lack them,
the skills needed to secure employment on release.
Every encouragement will be given to upgrade academic
education to the levels being increasingly demanded
by private industry. There will be a comprehensive
program of recreational activities to develop
the abilities necessary for enjoyable participation in
socially acceptable leisure time activities. Religious
training and spiritual counselling will be available in
the Protestant and Roman Catholic faiths. 

There will be an intensive counselling program
conducted by trained counsellors. It will be done
mainly on a group basis but the individual counselling
and psychotherapy will be provided for those requiring
it. Intensive psychotherapy using varied modern and
experimental techniques will be given to selected groups
of inmates in the pilot treatment units under the
direction of a psychiatrist.

Objectives

The function of the Matsqui Institution is to provide a controlled drug-free environment where the
addict can develop personality characteristics that will
assist him to live in society without resorting to
criminal activity or using narcotics. It is not expected
to “cure” drug addicts. A cure for drug addiction in
the sense that some diseases can be cured does not
exist and anyone naive enough to think that it does
is due to be disillusioned. It makes sense to think of
the addict in the manner that Alcoholics Anonymous
regards the alcoholic. He will never be cured but he
may have long periods of sobriety. 

The only realistic approach to the problem is to
set limited and attainable goals. Helping the addict to
get and hold a job, when he has seldom or never done
so before, and abstain from drug use for a period of
time in free society when he has not done so in the
past, are worthwhile goals. The fact that recommittal
for further training may become necessary should not
be regarded as failure but as progress as long as the
periods of socially acceptable living become longer
between commitments.

The Need for Follow-up

It has been amply demonstrated in North America
that institutional training programs alone are not
likely to do much towards solving the drug addict
problem unless there is continuing contact and supervision
after release. Our own experience in Canada
is testimony to this. Penal jurisdictions throughout the
United States have had similar results. The much
maligned institution at Lexington, Kentucky, has an
excellent training program but is generally regarded as a failure. However, the first annual report of this
institution (1936) pointed out the need for greater use
of probation and parole and for the provision of intensive
supervision and after-care in the community after
discharge from the institution. These same deficiencies
were stressed in many subsequent reports but no action
was taken. 

Hopeful Developments

It has been shown that significant progress can
be made with addicts when they are released on parole
with adequate supervision and controls. In 1962 a
group of sixteen addicts from the B.C. Penitentiary
were paroled under the supervision of one parole service
officer in what was called Special Narcotic Addiction
Project 1, or SNAP 1. Only two of them are still
at large but a significant number managed to live in a
socially acceptable manner for quite a long time and
those who fell from grace did not all do so because of
using narcotics. In 1964, a group of twenty-four addicts
were paroled in SNAP 2. Based on the experience
of SNAP 1, somewhat tighter controls were placed on
these parolees and half of them were placed in jobs
outside the Vancouver area. Sixteen of these parolees
are still at large and doing reasonably well. Of the
others, only a few had their paroles revoked because
of narcotic use. In comparison to previous experience
this certainly indicates that progress can be made.

The State of California has for some time operated a
specialized program for addicts. Its essential features
provide for compulsory civil commitment to the California Rehabilitation Center at Corona for training,
followed by lengthy periods on parole under close
supervision. There are at the present time over two
thousand male and female addicts in Corona and over
two thousand have been paroled. There is every indication that this program is working and that significant
progress is being made in dealing with addiction.

It is expected that the usual method of release
from the Matsqui Institution will be through parole.
The National Parole Service is recruiting additional
officers and a number of them will be assigned to the
supervision of addict parolees in British Columbia.
There appears to be grounds for believing thatsonie
worthwhile gains can and will be made in dealing with
this most serious problem of narcotic addiction.

– Warden John Moloney, “THE MATSQUI INSTITUTION.” Federal Corrections, Vol. 5, No. 1, Jan.-Feb.-Mar., 1966. pp. 1-5.

Legend: 
1. Male Unit

2. Female Unit

3. Main Administration Building
4. Stores and Power Plant

5. Trailer Camp: Minimum Security Inmates        

Read Full Post »

“Over the course of a decades-long career, Ms. Goldin has pushed the medium of photography to be more honest about the human condition. She has documented domestic violence — including her own battering at the hands of a boyfriend — as well as the scourge of H.I.V. and the death of close friends. But she called withdrawal from OxyContin the darkest time of her life.

She began taking the powerful painkiller in 2014 to alleviate wrist pain and quickly became addicted, increasing her intake of pills, seeking out black market sources and finally moving to other drugs. At one point she overdosed from a mixture of heroin and fentanyl, another narcotic.

Now she has been clean for a year. Ms. Goldin is still feeling her way back into a world filled with ghostly reminders of addiction, but she decided that she was strong enough for a new battle. That began recently when, in her most personal project yet, she publicly confronted OxyContin’s manufacturer, Purdue Pharma, and that company’s longtime owners, who are also prominent art patrons: the descendants of Mortimer and Raymond Sackler, two of three physician brothers who built Purdue Pharma into a pharmaceutical behemoth.

Foundations run by those members of the Sackler family have given tens of millions of dollars to institutions like the Victoria and Albert Museum, the American Museum of Natural History, the Solomon Guggenheim Foundation and the Dia Arts Foundation.

The January issue of Artforum published photographs by Ms. Goldin, including searing self-portraits, that depicted her life while addicted. They were accompanied by an essay in which she described her constant search for drugs: “I went from three pills a day, as prescribed, to eighteen. I got a private endowment and spent it all. Like all opiate addicts my crippling fear of withdrawal was my guiding force.”

She went on to announce the formation of an advocacy group and pressed the Sackler family and company — who, she wrote, “built their empire with the lives of hundreds of thousands” — to fund addiction treatment and education.

“I realized that I wasn’t alone and that I had to help people,” she said inside the courthouse. “I always do what’s closest to me. This is what I’ve lived through. And I’m a survivor of OxyContin — talk about hell.”

Elizabeth A. Sackler, the founder of a center for feminist art at the Brooklyn Museum, responded to her essay with a statement pointing out that her father, Arthur M. Sackler, who had owned Purdue Pharma with his brothers, Mortimer and Raymond, died in 1987, before OxyContin existed. (It was approved for use in 1995.) No money from the drug had gone to his descendants, she added.

“The opioid epidemic is a national crisis and Purdue Pharma’s role in it is morally abhorrent to me,” Ms. Sackler continued. “I admire Nan Goldin’s commitment to take action and her courage to tell her story.””

– Colin Moynihan, “Don’t Call Her a Victim: After Surviving Opioids, Nan Goldin Goes After the Makers.” The New York Times, January 22, 2018.

Read Full Post »

“No Place For Dope Fiends,” Toronto Star. December 30, 1918. Page 21.

Escaped Drug Victims From Farm Are Sent to Burwash Reformatory.

During the trial of Joseph Howe and Anthony Riordan, before Judge Winchester this morning, it developed that there was no proper place in Ontario where drug victims, who may be serving sentences, can be treated.

Howe and Riordan were charged with attempting to escape from the jail farm. Both had been heavy users of drugs, and Major Morrison, governor of the jail farm, complained to the judge that it was impossible to treat drug victims at the farm. He thought that they should be sent to the asylum for treatment, but they could not be sent there unless they volunteered to go themselves.

Crown Attorney Greer: ‘I understand, major, that drugs have been circulating pretty freely through the farm.’

Major Morrison: ‘There has not been a case in 16 months, and that one was stopped. The only dope the men get now is what the jail surgeon, Dr. Johns, prescribed as a minimum amount for their treatment.’

Judge Winchester: ‘What would happen to them were it all cut off?’

Major Morrison: ‘The coroner would have them.’

Mr. Greer: ‘Yes, they would go insane and death would follow.’

His Worship agreed that death should be prevented, and regretted that the men would not go to the asylum for treatment. Mr. Greer believed that Riordan’s family, who were very respectable, could persuade him to take the treatment. Six months were added to each of their sentences to be served at the Ontario Reformatory at Burwash, his Honor hoping that the men would consent to go to Brockville for treatment.

Major Morrison said that there had been twenty-two attempts to escape from the Jail farm this year so far, but that all but one had been caught.

Read Full Post »

“Germans Tried To Make World of Drug Fiends,” Sudbury Star. December 28, 1918. Page 02.

“German scientists had intended to make drug fiends of all the nations which opposed Germany, according to Alex. Aabel, chief engineer of the steamer Frederica. Mr. Aabel told in New York recently of a conversation he had had in Iceland with a German scientist on the subject.

‘If they had only waited,’ the German said, ‘we, the scientists and chemists of Germany, could have infused poison into the blood of the whole world so skillfully and so insidiously that in the course of compartaively few years Germany would have had to fight only an alliance of drug fiend nations.

‘In patent medicines, in tooth pastes and powders, in various well known and much used prophylactic preparations, we had planned to introduce our morphia, our cocaine, and other habit-forming drugs.

‘Tooth paste containing drugs had already been distributed to natives on the cost of Africa, who, without knowing why, enjoyed the sensation which resulted from its use and became addicted to it.’”

Read Full Post »