Monday, 18 October 2010

Help drug addicts, don't sterilise them

I've been thinking about the new charity initiative to sterilise drug addicts for the princely sum of £200. It seems an obvious conclusion that children of drug-addicted paremts will suffer in life, from the physical effects of addiction, as well as the less immediately apparent, but no less serious, consequences of being born into low socio-economic status, and the likelihood of ending up in care.

It occurred to me, though, that the motives of the charity in question are less than altruistic. What they're actually angry about is the burden to society that these children represent. So what do you do? Do you help the afflicted? Give them shelters, therapy, some sort of helping hand towards escaping drug addiction?

Nah. Far too difficult, and expensive. Why bother? Just give them the snip, and boot them out the door. Job done, sod the junkie. How charitable.

And where is the money likely to end up? In the hands of drug dealers, shortly after being exchanged for another hit, as the charity Addaction commented. I think this short-sighted move is exploiting sick people for a selfish motive, and ignores the real issues behind drug addiction. This is a deep-seated social problem, which is not going to disappear with short-term measures such as this, quite apart from the complex issues of liberty that arise.

"It doesn't deal with addicts who are already parents, it doesn't help people recover and it doesn't offer any positive solution," said Addaction's chief executive, Simon Antrobus.

The woman behind it is planning to go to Haiti next, and start sterilising there as well. Surely the hurricane was enough? Shouldn't we be doing something more tangible to help these people?

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