Shooting Up Legally Up North

Shooting Up Legally Up North
Posted by CN Staff on July 07, 2003 at 13:32:52 PT
By Kate Novack 
Source: Time Magazine 
The latest step in the Canadian drug war may just be surrender. National health officials last week approved the first legal "safe injection site" in North America. Heroin and cocaine users at the future facility in Vancouver's drug-riddled Downtown Eastside neighborhood, will be able to shoot up under the watchful eye of a nurse and then relax in a "chill-out room" without any interference from police.
A Bush Administration official ripped the initiative as "state-sponsored suicide." But Vancouver Mayor Larry Campbell, an ex  drug squad cop who championed the injection site, shoots back: "I think all you have to do is take a look at your prison system and your law enforcement to see if the drug war is being won in the States. It's an unmitigated disaster and they know it, but they can't back out of it."The program aims to reduce overdoses and intravenously transmitted viruses. (About 30% of addicts in the area are HIV positive; 90% have hepatitis C.) There will be 12 seats for users, plus a waiting room. Program administrators estimate that 850 injections will take place each day.They hope that visitors will also utilize in-house counseling services, although they say as few as 2% of clients may seek treatment. "It may not sound like much," says Laurie Dawkins, a spokeswoman for the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority, "but it's better than none."Note: Vancouver's "safe injection site" for heroin addicts draws fire from the U.S.Source: Time Magazine (Canada)Author: Kate Novack Published: July 7, 2003 IssueCopyright: 2003 Time Inc.Contact: letters time.comWebsite: Articles:B.C. Safe-Injection Site Wins Police Immunity To Take New Approach for Addicts Panel Pushes 'Safe' Drug Injection Sites 
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