Friday, October 26, 2012

Sterilization of People Who Use Drugs

Sterilising junkies may seem harsh, but it does make sense [Link]
The Irish Independent
By Ian O'Doherty Friday February 18 2011

This editorial was published in The Irish Independent, which is Ireland's largest-selling daily newspaper.  Here are a few choice segments (italics added -Ed):
"So, there I am, sitting in a cab on the quays when trouble breaks out between a bunch of junkies on the pavement across the road. Nothing unusual there, of course."
"After all, anyone who spends any time in Dublin's city centre will see these feral, worthless scumbags getting up to mischief all the time -- but this bit of aggro was different."
"Let's get a few things straight -- I hate junkies more than anything else. I hate their greed, their stupidity, their constant sense of self pity, they way they can justify their behaviour, the damage they do to their own family and to others. If every junkie in this country were to die tomorrow I would cheer."
"That might seem a little on the harsh side but anyone who has ever seen a family member become a junkie will understand exactly where I am coming from."
"And, also, there is a distinction between an addict and a junkie.  An addict is someone who has developed a habit that they're trying to shake. A junkie, on the other hand, is the one who breaks into his own brother's house and steals stuff; a junkie is the one who will rob you blind and sell valuables that you have worked and saved for and then sell it for a tenner bag of smack. They are worthless."
"So I was interested to see the initiative by Dublin doctor and addiction expert Dr Patrick Troy who wants to offer junkies €220 to be sterilised. It might seem harsh at first, but when you think about it  the scheme makes perfect sense."
"And, as is often the case, there was more sympathy for them than for the victims of their crimes. But what's often lost in the haze of argument is that the biggest victims of these vermin are the kids themselves."
So in case you didn't get all that the first time, heroin users are junkies, feral worthless scumbags and vermin.  O'Doherty "hates junkies more than anything else" and if they "...were to die tomorrow I would cheer."

While these editorials spewing vitriolic attacks against people who use drugs have been less frequent in modern times, the views O'Doherty holds are sadly all too common.  Although few people come out and say it so plainly, many people would happily round up all illicit drug users, sterilize them and take away their children.  The War on (some) Drugs implicitly supports the notion that users of certain drugs are deviants deserving dehumanizing treatment.  Sterilization has long been used as a weapon by campaigns against people scapegoated by those in power.  It has a long history of being used by tyrannical regimes as part of eugenics campaigns and was one of the first laws passed by Hitler after taking control of Germany (Law for the Prevention of Hereditary Diseased Offspring).  Although before Hitler eugenics was popular within the United States resulting in many state laws that permitted the forced sterilization of prostitutes, mental patients, criminals, addicts and other popular targets of scapegoating.  Following World War Two coercion for forced sterilization has been recognized as a crime against humanity by the International Criminal Court.

O'Doherty would argue that since the individual is being paid and the sterilization is not mandatory it is not a crime.  This claim is an obviously transparent attack on people who use drugs while superficially seeming like a viable public health measure.  People who use illicit drugs are some of the most vulnerable segments of society.  It's not hard to imagine our poor junkie brothers and sisters getting desperate enough to undergo sterilization in order to get some money and keep THE SICKNESS at bay at least a little longer.  These programs take advantage of the prohibition-caused price inflation of illicit drugs to achieve a modern campaign of eugenics.

Sadly programs like this are also active within the Unites States.  Project Prevention (formerly called Children Requiring a Caring Kommunity or by the not-so-subtle acronym CRACK) uses winning slogans like “Don’t let a pregnancy ruin your drug habit,” “Get birth control, get ca$h,” and “She has her daddy’s eyes…and her mommy’s heroin addiction" to promote their offer of $300 to women in exchange for implanting long-term birth control or undergoing sterilization.  Super-bitch and Hitler wannabe Barbara Harris, the founder of Project Prevention, claims to care about the children of drug-dependent women but is more interested in continuing the global campaign to dehumanize people who use drugs.  Prior to starting CRACK Harris campaigned to have California jail drug dependent mothers unless they agreed to implants or sterilization.

“We don’t allow dogs to breed...We spay them. We neuter them... We try to keep them from having unwanted puppies, and yet these women are literally having litters of children...It’s the truth—they don’t just have one and two babies, they have litters.” [1]

But wait it gets worse.  Project Prevention hired British psychologist Chris Brand, a racist fuckwad who, according to Barry Yeoman writing in Mother Jones [Link], is a "self-proclaimed 'race realist,' claims that blacks are intellectually inferior to whites, and advocates taking a 'eugenic' approach to 'wanton and criminal females.'"  Prior to joining Project Prevention Brand was fired from his tenured position at Edinburgh University.  Interestingly while Brand thinks women who use drugs should be sterilized, he also believes that sex with children 12 and over should be legal.  These are the thoughts of a man with a deeply perverse sense of morality.  Sex with children? Good.  Women who use drugs? Bad.
"Both the American Civil Liberties Union and Planned Parenthood say...and many bioethicists agree...Rewarding someone for having a surgical procedure, they note, violates a basic principle of medical ethics: Health care decisions should be made by patients, without any form of pressure,”'
“The greatest harm of Project Prevention is that they are a propaganda machine used against pregnant women to take away their civil and human rights.”
Thankfully due to the efforts of people like Stuart Sorenson, a mental health and addiction worker, a campaign in 2010 to shut down Project Prevention in the UK was successful.  Sorenson says, “It’s not up to me to decide who has value. Any organization that thinks it’s OK to decide who has the right to live is arrogant in the extreme.” and  “It’s essentially a form of eugenics dressed up in a thin veneer of compassion.”[1]

This has not stopped Project Prevention from waging its campaign against women who use drugs.  After the outcry in the UK resulting in Project Prevention having to close up shop, they have set their sites on Kenya which is far less likely to organized resistance.  The poverty in Kenya also works to their advantage, where the average per-capita GDP is about $300 the women can be bought off for only $40.

As the War on (some) Drugs becomes more and more untenable, these campaigns to exterminate people who use drugs are being seen for what they are.  They may have been able to play on popular prejudices at the height of the "crack epidemic" but thankfully there are now organizations that call out O'Doherty on his hate-speech and open support of crimes against humanity.

Irish Press Ombudsman upholds complaint from coalition of drug services [Link]
"On 23 May 2011, the Press Ombudsman of Ireland upheld a complaint lodged by a coalition of national and international drug services against the Irish Independent, the country’s largest circulation broadsheet. The complaint was filed by the International Harm Reduction Association, the Irish Needle Exchange Forum and the CityWide Drugs Crisis Campaign, with the support of approximately thirty Irish drugs services and professionals."
"However, the more serious claim was made under Principle 8 on ‘Prejudice’, which states: Newspapers and periodicals shall not publish material intended or likely to cause grave offence or stir up hatred against an individual or group on the basis of their race, religion, nationality, colour, ethnic origin, membership of the travelling community, gender, sexual orientation, marital status, disability, illness or age.  In essence, the complainants were asking that the Press Ombudsman recognise people who use drugs as an identifiable group, entitled to protections against hate-type speech in the press. In particular, the complaints argued that because drug dependency is recognised as a chronic and relapsing disease by many authorities, including the World Health Organization and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, that O’Doherty’s column ‘is not only a hateful attack a vulnerable population with a recognised medical condition, it also ignores the well-established link between drug use and depression, mental illness, alcohol use and homelessness.’"
"The Press Ombudsman upheld the main element of the complaint, finding that the newspaper ‘breached Principle 8 (Prejudice) of the Code of Practice for Newspapers and Magazines because it was likely to cause grave offence to or stir up hatred against individuals or groups addicted to drugs on the basis of their illness.’"
"This was the first time that the Press Ombudsman in Ireland has found people who use drugs to be an identifiable group, entitled to protections against prejudicial reporting in the media.  It may well be the first case of its kind internationally. According to the complainants, ‘We believe this to be the first time that drug users have been identified by a media watchdog as an identifiable group, entitled to protections against hate-type speech in the press. In this sense, we think the decision of the Press Ombudsman has international significance.’"
[1]Quotes from Should Addicts Be Sterilized? by Jed Bickman [Link]


  1. perhaps you should look at society

  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  3. Your blog, has a noble tone but it is completely out of touch. A person who is incapable of looking after themselves will hardly be able to take care of a child. Voluntary or reward based sterilizing programs would actually benefit society. Not just for junkies, but for anyone looking to remove responsibility. In all likely-hood, sterilizing junkies might actually solve their problem. Every other avenue has been either suggested or tried, with very little positive results. The sterilizing methods are temporary. The expected resources that would be freed up, could be used enhance and repair the damage done to existing children who were born into the life. If nothing is done, the vicious cycle that currently exists will continue and a new generation of potential lost souls is coming.

    1. While I agree that people who cannot take care of themselves should not have children, this program is attempting to take advantage of women in dire straights. Like offering money to a starving person, the poor opioid dependent user suffers from the effects of extreme poverty, so at best it is a semi-voluntary choice. Besides there already exists many forms of birth control, why not give it away for free? Why the monetary incentive if not to target poor female drug users? As the post notes, rewarding someone for undergoing a medical procedure is ethically dubious under the best of conditions.

      Regardless of the wisdom of the program, the tone of the campaign's advertising and the statements of its director clearly view female junkies as little more than animals. This is a thinly disguised eugenics campaign.

      And how would sterilizing junkies solve their problem? Even assuming opioid dependence is a problem per se (and not opioid prohibition), sterilization as a solution makes no sense. It's not opioid dependence that causes homelessness, crime, prostitution, ect but rather the high prices demanded by a black market. Every avenue has not been tried, legalization would actually reduce and/or solve the problem. So far only a few countries offer the only form of legalization available (outside of methadone/buprenorphine): heavily regulated heroin clinics.

      Children are not harmed by their mother's opioid use during pregnacy, but rather the lifestyle imposed by drug prohibition. Which is why methadone maintenance is the best possible treatment for pregnant opioid dependent women.

      As an aside, I've always been awed by the fact that perhaps the most awesome responsibility a person can bear, having children, is completely unregulated by the government. Meanwhile the choice of what to put into one's own body is prohibited and punished by the most draconian means society has to incentivize their citizens behavior: criminal law.

  4. A well constructed reply if not a little biased. Sterilization is available to both men and women. Offering birth control for free is currently available, however it still remains the responsibility of the user to actively manage the control program. This is why it fails.

    Opiates harm the unborn, taking opiates during pregnancy dramatically increases prenatal obstetric complications. Children born to addicts tend to be under weight thus putting these children in the high risk category for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

    The choice to use drugs is a choice, but a child doesn't have that choice. They are subjected to the lifestyle and conditions imposed on them by a person who doesn't value themselves.

    Legalizing would eliminate a portion of the criminal element, but not solve the problem. Introducing government sanctioned births seems a little sci-fi, but perhaps an alternative to sterilizing.

    1. It is currently accepted as best medical practice to put pregnant opioid users on methadone. If opioids were highly terategenic this wouldn't be the case. I question whether taking opioids "dramatically" increases obstetric complications.

      Either way alcohol is by far worse than opioids with regard to pregnancy. Tobacco users also have increased obstetric complications, should we sterilize all the women who drink or smoke?

      Blanket statements about drug users (and addicts) not valuing themselves is ignorant nonsense. What evidence do you have that people like Thomas De Quincey or William Stewart Halsted don't value themselves?

  5. It's very simple offer JUNKIES and PISS HEADS a simple choice we will help you get clean and stay clean we will help you three times if that's what it takes to get clean and stay clean but if after three attempts you fail. And go out and rob steal or threaten anyone because you are pissed up or high on drugs then you will be put on a boat along with the rest of the scum like you taken out to sea and have the Fucking plug pulled its a simple choice the safety of the public must come first.

    1. So the death penalty for drug users and thieves? Perhaps you should move to the Islamic State (ISIS), you would be right at home there.

  6. It is a shame my respone to your statement of "ignorant nonsense" was removed. It appears I was right in my assumption. That this blog is presented as a platform for a well constructed agrument, but in reality, it is pure fiction, edited to present the biased opinion of an uninformed editor.

    1. Actually I haven't censored any replies to my comment above. If your comment didn't appear it's from a problem on your end.

  7. I think that the sterilization plan is a fantastic first step!

  8. Well, from an economic point of view, sterilization would be great. From a practical standpoint I think euthanasia would be even better. I see no tangible benefit to allowing junkies to live and leech off society. They are sub human, akin to parasites, and should be treated as such.

    1. Agreed. One taxpayer dollar spent on junkies is one taxpayer dollar too much.

  9. Why is this controversial? It's a win win scenario. Just like spaying and neutering animals so that cannot breed we have an organization offering the service of spaying and neutering junkies (very similar to unwanted animals) so they can't breed either.

    I salute the individual(s) who are financing this program, they are doing their part to make the world a safer, cleaner and better place.

  10. I say we should give free, unlimited quantities of heroin to anybody who wants it. And don't spoil their fun by having any naloxone on hand.

  11. As a taxpayer it sickens me that so much money is WASTED on junkies. Pandering to junkies is like feeding cockroaches, you are just enabling filth to spread. Any measure to abate the encroachment of more junkies is a worthy endeavor. Obviously extermination will never happen but sterilization is the next best thing.