The debate into safe injection sites got me thinking about how maybe that thinking is limited. Vermont shouldn’t stop there. We need safe meth labs as well.
Maybe you’ve heard about how some poor folks blow themselves up trying to cook meth. It can get really ugly–giant blasts and third degree burns all over their bodies. This leads to a lot of unnecessary suffering that could be avoided if we had safe, supervised meth labs.
Since people are going to cook meth anyway, why not have trained chemists supervising the chemical reactions to ensure that there aren’t unnecessary explosions. They could also give suggestions about obtaining purity if asked, since why load up an addict’s body with more toxic chemicals than are absolutely necessary to get high.
This would be done in a non-judgemental fashion. It isn’t the government’s role to judge your choices, but instead to eliminate any risks from what judgey folks might consider bad choices until you come around and realize maybe doing and cooking meth aren’t good choices, but we wouldn’t want the government to say that. People only ask for help if they feel that they haven’t made a terrible choice.
Another benefit to having Vermont set up supervised meth labs is that it will help real estate values. When people cook meth inside a house, it becomes a toxic cesspool and often has to be entirely gutted by hazmat teams which is super expensive and brings down the value of the home.
Having safe lab sites will protect real estate values, which helps whole neighborhoods. It isn’t a guarantee that people won’t still try to cook meth at home when the lab is closed. In fact, they probably will. But it won’t be as much meth cooking at home and that’s the first step.
Sure, some might say that the best thing is to tell people not to use meth or cook meth to begin with, and direct them to treatment, but that’s short-sighted. The reality is that people will still use and cook whether we like it or not, so we should minimize any negative effects those choices might have. We can still direct them to treatment each time they come to the lab to cook. We will have brochures and trained professionals who can tell them that their choice isn’t wrong, and they can do it as long as they like under our careful supervision, but once all their teeth fall out and their life totally falls apart, we will support them getting treatment.
So Vermont, I hope you’ll take a comprehensive, holistic approach to not just heroin use, but meth production, too. And while we are at it since teenagers are going to drink, let’s establish safe spaces for that, too, maybe in the lobbies of police departments or in basements of churches. All publicly funded of course, and as long as a special clause is enacted so the groups that run these have no responsibility. I mean liability.