Eastside Stories: Diary of a Vancouver Beat Cop – News Flash: Vancouver has a drug problem

Posted by Steve

One of the lead news stories in Vancouver today was a study which found that illicit drugs are rampant on the streets of Vancouver.

The B.C. Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS reported that drugs such as heroin, cocaine, meth and marijuana can be bought on Vancouver’s streets in as little as 10 minutes.

Go figure. And in other news, a plane landed safely today at YVR.

I’m not sure what’s more frustrating — that this problem continues to fester after years of enforcement, education and even harm reduction, or that some people are just waking up to the fact that it’s about as easy to buy crack in Downtown Vancouver as it is to find a Starbucks.

By the way, there’s a Starbucks on just about every corner.

What appears of particular concern to the study’s authors is that street drugs are just as accessible to young people as they are to adults, if not more.

“Among the 330 youth aged 14-26 involved in the study, nearly 63% reported accessing crystal methamphetamine in as little as 10 minutes, compared to 39% of adult users. Young drug users also reported significantly easier access to marijuana, with 88% saying they could obtain the drug within 10 minutes (versus 73% of adults),” said the press release posted online by the BC Centre of Excellence in HIV/AIDS.

I’m not sure what else you would expect with the slapdash assortment of marijuana cafes, pot dispensaries and crooked corner stores that line Hastings Street — a 10 minute walk from four separate SkyTrain stations. Not to mention the army of drug dealers, many of whom are barely adults themselves, that litters the lanes of the Downtown Eastside and operates with near impunity. It’s not as if people who make their living by pimping poison to drug addicts are going to suddenly have a moral epiphany when a 16 year old customer waves $20 in their face.

Yes, Vancouver does have a drug problem. I’m waiting for the study that shows us the solution.