Are You Freaking Serious? Debate ensues over San Francisco providing alcohol, drugs to homeless in hotels

            What on Earth kind of idiots are you electing California?  This article reports:

Department of Public Health officials in San Francisco assure the public that a program providing homeless, recovering drug addicts– housed in hotels during the pandemic–with methadone, alcohol and marijuana, comes at no cost to taxpayers.

            Never mind costs, or the politics of it, how about the ethics of it? As a physician, I can’t support this. I doubt politicians have had classes on medical ethics and the concept of Nonmaleficence: non-harming or inflicting the least harm possible to reach a beneficial outcome. They say it’s part of a plan to help the unhoused population quarantine rather than out on the streets.” This statement is noble in and of itself, but I just think the ends here don’t justify the means. Why don’t we just put gas on fire? I do think they are trying to do something good by trying to contain the coronavirus in a vulnerable population, but a free hotel and free drugs and alcohol? Dr. Grant Colfax MD from San Francisco’s Department of Public Health says:

“Meeting them where they are so that they can be cared for in the most appropriate way. In the way that’s good for them and for our community.”

            Again, the goals are noble, but I believe the means to be more harmful. Drug addicts and alcoholics die every day as a direct result of the drug/alcohol use as well as the sequela of such use. Part of the argument justifying this action is that it is protecting society as a whole. But is that really the altruistic greater good? Protecting society? At what cost? Enabling unhealthy behavior directly harming individuals? Are these individuals of lessor value to society such that the harm bestowed upon them is worth the cost? Is this really manipulation and taking advantage of vulnerable people? 

Just questions for thought as it seems this action wasn’t very well thought out. How about substance abuse TREATMENT instead of free drugs/alcohol? I’d like to ask Dr. Colfax for his sources on the following statement:

“Our philosophy in terms of treating those who suffer from addiction, substance use disorders is really again focused on science and the medical literature,”

Really?? 

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