Commons Committee Calls for Safe-Injection Sites

Commons Committee Calls for Safe-Injection Sites
Posted by CN Staff on December 09, 2002 at 13:46:51 PT
By Darren York, Globe and Mail Update
Source: Globe and Mail 
Safe-injection sites and needle-exchange programs should be set up in major Canadian cities, a new report from a Commons committee says. The all-party Special Committee on Non-Medical Use of Drugs released its final report Monday, making 39 recommendations.The committee says the federal government should take immediate action to ensure that a well-funded federal drug strategy will be in place by next summer. "The renewed Canada's Drug Strategy must be comprehensive, integrated, balanced and sustainable and include alcohol, tobacco, illicit substances and pharmaceutical drugs," the report says. 
"The cornerstone of a renewed drug strategy must remain the long-term goal of reducing the harm associated with alcohol, tobacco and other substances to individuals, families and communities."Health Canada issued guidelines last week for how safe-injection drug sites would operate at pilot sites. The sites would most likely be in Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal."A majority of Committee members recognize the importance of the proposed pilot project to test the effectiveness of heroin-assisted treatment for heroin users who have failed to respond to methadone maintenance, and encourage its implementation," the report said."Health Canada must play an active role in facilitating, supporting and evaluating the heroin-assisted treatment pilot project."Canadian Alliance MP Randy White, vice-chairman of the panel, slammed the proposal for safe-injection sites, saying they aid rather than cure heroin addiction."Why are they promoting programs that will keep addicts on drugs instead of programs that will help with detox and rehabilitation?" Mr. White said in a statement. "Their concepts of 'harm reduction' can be better classified as harm extension, as they will maintain a chemical dependency to dangerous and illicit drugs over a much longer period of time.""I would hope the Health Minister would consider the downside of these programs. However, her most recent comments have shown she is already at the front of the 'harm reduction' bandwagon leading the charge."Committe member and B.C. NDP MP Libby Davies told CBC Newsworld that the safe-injection sites were key in the fight against drugs."I think it is a very important part of the report and it is very simple thing to do," Ms. Davies said. "It is to ensure that there is medical supervision so that people are not overdosing when they're injecting."Ms. Davies stressed that other measures have to be used in conjuction with the safe sites."We've seen too many people who have died as a result of overdoses in the downtown east side," Ms. Davies said. "People are shooting up right now as we speak. ... to make sure there are safe sites accompanied with other measures that can help people get into treatment is critical to me."The committee also recommends creating a national drug commissioner to track implementation of a new drug strategy and report to Parliament."In Canada, there is an alarming lack of information on the prevalence of use and harmful use of substances, trends and overdoses, which impedes the development of sound drug policymaking," the report says.The committee noted that the United States and Europe invest a substantial amount of resources into addictions research. In Canada, the investment in research pales in comparison, it said."In fact, in recent years the United States government has awarded six times as much money as the Canadian government to support addictions research being conducted in Canada," the report says.The report also recommends seizing the property of drug dealers and using the proceeds for treatment programs.On May 17, 2001, the House of Commons created the committee to study "the factors underlying or relating to the non-medical use of drugs in Canada" and to bring forward recommendations aimed at reducing "the dimensions of the problem involved in such use."Its members spent 18 months and $500,000 on studies and consultations.The MPs are expected to call for more liberal marijuana laws when they release their next report on Thursday.Canada's Drug Strategy Report: Source: Globe and Mail (Canada)Author: Darren York, Globe and Mail UpdatePublished: Monday, December 09, 2002Copyright: 2002 The Globe and Mail CompanyContact: letters globeandmail.caWebsite: Article & Web Site:Cannabis News Canadian Links Call for Drug User 'Safe Sites' Laws Need Massive Overhaul: Committee 
Home Comment Email Register Recent Comments Help

Comment #1 posted by Sam Adams on December 09, 2002 at 14:36:01 PT
These guys are a little confused...
the poor pols. Their feeble minds have to stretch so hard to comprehend the simplest of issues. If only intelligence were a prerequisite for government.......Safe injection sites don't stop people from OD'ing.... legalized, regulated heroin does. Just as ending Prohibition stopped people from going blind & dying from moonshine.Safe injection sites will, however, cause HIV infection rates to plummet. Which saves Canada big bucks in health care costs down the road. Oh wait, that reasoning is too complicated for the politicians.I take it this means that MJ decrim is put off until next summer as well. I guess they're slow AND stupid.
[ Post Comment ]

Post Comment