This week my e-mail nearly developed “Rigor Mortis” from the volume of responses to my column about an opioid summit. I recently told readers the government’s proposed opioid summit was a waste of money. I asked for their opinion. The majority agreed with me. But some labelled me barbaric, cruel and Godless for praising Singapore’s system of justice.
M.P. writes, “I also saw the warning signs when entering Singapore airport. A poster showed a drug dealer hanging by a rope!”
Another reader adds, “I’m glad someone has the balls to discuss the consequences of this drug problem.”
From A.W., “My wife would swear I wrote your column. The only way to deal with drug dealers is death. Put them in jail and these serial killers are back selling death.”
From G.T., “I have morning coffee with 9 others and they all agree western society is too lenient with drug dealers. Bleeding hearts will ruin this great country.”
One also warned me they might also try to end my column,
Parents responded that their worst nightmare occurred when a child died from a drug overdose. They suggested evil pushers be injected with the same drug that killed their children.
R.L. writes, “Every dealer executed saves our prison system $80,000. This would decrease the demand on our police, and emergency health services.”
From Brampton, “I’ve visited Singapore many times and it’s one of the few places I would emigrate to, thanks to Lee Kuan Yew and his tough stand on crime.”
From Victoria, “I look forward to your column every Sunday. You are spot on, say it like it is, which is a breath of fresh air in a crazy world.”
Another added, “Great stuff, you should run for Prime Minister of Canada.”
H.T. “I don’t normally reply to articles, but yours hit a nerve. Pampering drug addicts is a waste of health resources.”
From Calgary, “This is the most commonsense article I’ve read as we just slap the wrist of drug dealers. An opioid summit is the classic stalling tactic of governments. This column is a joy to read and should have been on the front page.”
K.S. says, “We have to stop saving people who overdose. Let them die.” Another reader, “Why are we handwringing over a few witless souls who have no regard for their continued existence.” Another just said, “Hang the scumbags.”
But five percent of readers took me to task. J.K. says, “Your proposal that dealers should be hanged is cruelty over the top.” Other readers suggested I visit Portugal to learn about rehabilitation programs. Still others said they had always considered me a compassionate physician, but now were appalled by my views.
Several readers addressed the death penalty saying that it was barbaric. But added it’s equally barbaric to sell death, so punishment fits the crime. Others deplored how the court system allowed lawyers to defer justice on drug cases for years.
A Crisis Centre worker writes, “As a Christian I try to model the love God has for mankind. But my God is no pushover. In the Bible punishment for crime is swift and definite. And yes, it includes the death penalty.”
Addicts did not get much sympathy from readers. Some blamed doctors for the indiscriminate use of opioids. But the majority did not buy this view. Rather, they believed responsibility rested solely on those who decided to become involved in drugs. Moreover, we should not dignify addicts by calling them victims when they’re willing to become participants in their own addictions.
Most readers had a pessimistic view of the future and believe that chicken-hearted politicians would continue to be “irresponsibly permissive” in dealing with drug dealers. Many also decried the use of safe injection sites and naloxone injections of just abetting drug addiction.
The overwhelming message is that people are fed up with politicians and their lack of sense when dealing with the drug epidemic. None of the respondents could see Singapore’s Lee Kuan Yew’s hard stand on drugs ever happening in this country. But they suggest any politician with the intestinal fortitude to take this stand would get elected. So, is any politician listening?