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Anthony Furey Condemns Use of Taxpayer Money for Crack Pipes and Crystal Meth Kits


Earlier this year, I drew attention to the little-known fact that the City of Toronto was giving out crack pipes, crystal meth kits, and other hard drug paraphernalia. I held a press conference during the mayor’s race, in which I was a candidate, to show the cameras the physical evidence of these drug kits.

There was no doubt they came from the city. Their kits actually had City of Toronto logos on them. We now have more information about the extent and costs associated with these kits thanks to a new freedom of information release.

A lot of people were outraged at the time to learn that this was going on. But the disturbing truth is that it has actually been happening for a couple of years. Some apologists for this practice tried to use the fact it was already an established city handout as an argument that the revelation was no big deal and that it wasn’t actually news.

That it had been going on for so long without people even being aware of it actually makes it an even bigger scandal. The public sector should be serving the people. They shouldn’t be doing morally questionable things behind our backs and trying to downplay it.

What was news was that the drug kits were being pushed to more and more social service agencies. They weren’t just being handed out at a select few drug injection sites in the downtown core, where the most hardened of addicts tragically gather.

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A whistleblower from a social service provider got in touch with me to tell me what was happening and provide me with samples of the kits. He was disturbed that facilities that were previously just used as homeless shelters and kitchens were being turned into drug sites by the fact these kits were being handed out.

After word got out about these kits, people started visiting the places where they were distributed to see just how freely available they were. One citizen journalist went in and said he had never used such hard drugs before and asked for a kit. Instead of being told that the city strongly advised against someone doing crystal meth for the first time and sending their life into a downward spiral of addiction, the kit was handed over to him with no questions asked.

Toronto Public Health (TPH) has tried to mislead the public about what’s going on with these programs. During a live television interview I did at the time, the anchor said she had reached out to TPH and received a comment from them stating that taxpayer dollars were not in fact going towards these drug kits.

TPH were trying to make themselves look less complicit in what a lot of people would argue is pretty much a crime: distributing drug kits to people. Public Health said it was all paid for by the provincial government, as if that somehow made it better. But I knew that they were misleading residents and I said at the time that freedom of information documents would surely come out later to make that clear.

Sure enough, the Canadian Taxpayers Federation went and made such a request and they recently reported on the results. Their findings show how Toronto taxpayers shelled out $33,561.27 over the course of three and a half years just for the stickers with the city logo that get put on the kits. They also found that over the same period there were 166,392 hard drug kits distributed throughout the city. That’s a lot.

This is a problem, all aspects of it: that we have an increasingly permissive view towards hard drug use on our streets, that taxpayer money is being used to support it, and that the public sector engages in media spin and misleading comments to mask the extent of what’s happening.

The drug crisis is a tragedy. It can happen to any family. And the more the system pushes these enabling policies, the worse the crisis gets. It then drags down entire communities with it.

It’s good that we no longer treat drug users as criminals. We now need to get to the point where we work hard to get them off drugs. We can’t just give up on people.

Handing out over 160,000 hard drug kits is just wrong. We all know it.

Views expressed in this article are opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.

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