Canada Panel Pushes 'Safe' Drug Injection Sites

Canada Panel Pushes 'Safe' Drug Injection Sites
Posted by CN Staff on December 09, 2002 at 14:39:46 PT
By Randall Palmer
Source: Reuters UK
Ottawa -- A parliamentary committee recommended on Monday that Canada establish "safe" injection sites as a way to cut the spread of diseases such as HIV and AIDS among drug addicts, a proposal that generated immediate criticism from police and opposition politicians.The safe-site proposal draws on experiences in European countries like the Netherlands and is the latest in a series of recommendations to relax Canada's drug regime, despite warnings from the United States that doing so could exacerbate problems at the border.
But committee chairwoman Paddy Torsney said the status quo was simply unacceptable."People are using drugs. Let's deal with the health problem," Torsney told reporters after submitting an interim report after 1-1/2 years of study. "They're somebody's brother or sister, and they're deserving of our care."The proposal by the special committee on the non-medical use of drugs involves allowing addicts to bring their heroin or other illegal drugs to a room where they can shoot up without penalty, under the supervision of medically trained personnel.The idea is "harm reduction": to reduce blood-transmitted infections like HIV/AIDS and hepatitis C, as well as to reduce overdose deaths. The committee also hopes to cut back on seedy drug scenes, like the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada's most notorious neighborhood, where drug use is rampant.The right-wing Canadian Alliance, the largest opposition party in Parliament, dismissed the findings of the Liberal-dominated committee, saying they were a recipe for "harm extension".The Alliance's Randy White said the European facilities the committee visited made no checks for the safety of drugs used, and opening so-called safe sites did not succeed in cleaning up nearby neighborhoods."Surrounding the facilities, I saw human carnage for blocks, as well as a substantial gathering of addicts and pushers in the areas where trafficking and using were reluctantly permitted," White said .Police also blasted the idea of safe sites, saying they would do nothing to deal with the violent crimes committed by addicts who need to fund their habits, and would merely further encourage the drug culture."Our concern is that we're sliding down a slippery slope to the point where it won't be long that we'll be hearing calls for dispensing drugs in those sites as well," Canadian Police Association spokesman David Griffin told reporters.The committee will also make recommendations on the subject of marijuana on Thursday. Torsney said public opinion was not ready for the decriminalization of all illegal drugs, but she declined to give her view on marijuana.A Senate committee in September recommended marijuana's full legalization. Justice Minister Martin Cauchon has suggested the government decriminalize it, though not make it fully legal.This idea has drawn warnings from U.S. drug czar John Walters that the United States could further tighten its border security -- already toughened in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks -- to prevent drugs filtering south.Griffin said Canada, which has an estimated illegal drug market of C$14 billion a year ($9 billion), had already surpassed Mexico as a source of illegal drugs for the United States.Griffin further criticized a committee proposal for needle exchanges in prisons, saying the open possession of needles endangered front-line officers. Canada's Drug Strategy Report: Source: Reuters (UK)Author: Randall PalmerPublished: December 09, 2002Copyright: 2002 Reuters News ServiceWebsite: http://www.reuters.comContact: Articles & Web Site:Cannabis News Canadian Links Committee Calls for Safe-Injection Sites Call for Drug User 'Safe Sites' Report on Cannabis: Get Whole Story 
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Comment #7 posted by Nuevo Mexican on December 09, 2002 at 21:19:01 PT
Don't forget tomorrows cross county Rallys' for Peace/International Human Rights Day. This is our Day TO ACT!Congressman Kucinich for Peace article is extracted from his recent call to action made in the House 
of Representatives. snip
"WE HAVE REACHED a moment in history where it is urgent that people everywhere speak out, each as president of his or her own life, to protect 
the peace of their nation and the world. We should speak out and caution leaders who generate fear through talk of endless war or the final conflict. We should appeal to our leaders to consider that their own bellicose thoughts, words and deeds are reshaping consciousness and can have an adverse effect. Because when one person thinks: fight! he or she finds a fight. When one faction thinks: war! he or she may start a war."When one nation thinks: nuclear! he or she approaches the abyss. What then, of one nation which thinks peace, and seeks peace?"
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Comment #6 posted by FoM on December 09, 2002 at 19:30:52 PT
Globe & Mail Poll 
Should the Canadian government provide injection sites for heroin users?Current ResultsYes   --  514 votes -- (46 %) No    -- 609 votes -- (54 %) Total Votes: 1123 
 Please Vote:
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Comment #5 posted by FoM on December 09, 2002 at 16:08:54 PT
What I think is if they don't bother anyone who has a personal garden, prohibition against Cannabis here in the states will seriously be affected. It will be if Canada can find tolerance then we need to look at this issue more closely. That's what I hope happens.
Canadian Links
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Comment #4 posted by druid on December 09, 2002 at 15:59:36 PT:
If Canada does decriminalize for personal growing it is going to be hard to resist the temptation to start the immigration process! ;) I really hope it opens up even more eyes to the lies of the federal Government and the tragedy of prohibition here in the States.
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Comment #3 posted by FoM on December 09, 2002 at 15:51:16 PT
Thank You druid!
That is the news I wanted to see! I named you Newshawk and got it posted. Thanks again. Being allowed to grow your own in Canada is a huge success if it comes to be. I sure hope it does! 
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Comment #2 posted by druid on December 09, 2002 at 15:21:52 PT:
Bill to decriminalize pot could come early in new
new year, Cauchon says.LOUISE ELLIOTT 
Canadian Press Monday, December 09, 2002
CREDIT: (CP /Fred Chartrand) 
The federal government may introduce legislation early in the new year to decriminalize the use of marijuana, says Justice Minister Martin Cauchon. (CP /Fred Chartrand) 
OTTAWA (CP) - The federal government may introduce legislation early in the new year to decriminalize the use of marijuana, says Justice Minister Martin Cauchon. "If we're talking about that question of decriminalizing marijuana, we may move ahead quickly as a government," he said Monday outside the House of Commons. "I don't like to give you a date or a time frame, but let's say the beginning of next year, the four first months of next year."
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Comment #1 posted by p4me on December 09, 2002 at 15:12:07 PT
ABC has big story on FBI and drug operation
There is a long article that discusses the FBI and its role in allowing a crime gang to continue its operations with disregard to established guidelines by ABC: made two $4.20 purchases today, one for kerosene and one for gas. It was entertainment especially the puzzlement of the clerk from India. Two more messages sent. I thought about the $4.20 purchases and I think it a big deal. But I can see how a group of people in one location could really make a difference. Of course I always think about scenes that might make it to a movie such as a service station that is targeted for $4.20 purchases and backs traffic out unto the street. There used to be a little used expression of "I'm a buyin' if you're a flyin'," meaning I'll buy if you go get it. I can see the expression, "I'll $4.20 you." You know how you might say I'll buy us some gas if you drive? Then you have the situation of not knowing how much gas to buy. Well $4.20 can help you with that problem and give you both a laugh at the same time.You cannot be an activist if you don't do something to change these fascist laws. Go ahead and $4.20 tomorrow and see how you feel. It is a prescription for a smile and a message for change.1
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