Pubdate: Wed, 11 Dec 2002
Source: National Post (Canada)
Copyright: 2002 Southam Inc.
Author: Robert Sharpe
Note: Headline by newshawk


Re: MPs Push for Safe Heroin Injection Sites, Dec. 10.

Tony Clement claims Ontario will not open safe drug-injection sites as long 
as he is Ontario's Health Minister. Perhaps he should consider a new line 
of work. Safe-injection sites have been proven to reduce the spread of HIV 
without increasing drug use. They also serve as a bridge to drug treatment 
for an especially hard-to-reach population. Drug users are not the only 
beneficiaries. Look no further than the United States for tragic examples 
of anti-drug strategies that are best avoided.

U.S. Centers for Disease Control researchers estimate that 57% of AIDS 
cases among women and 36% of overall AIDS cases in the United States are 
linked to injection drug use or sex with partners who inject drugs. This 
easily preventable public health crisis is a direct result of zero 
tolerance laws that restrict access to clean syringes. Can Canada afford to 
emulate drug policies of the former land of the free, which is the current 
record holder in citizens incarcerated?

Robert Sharpe, program officer, Drug Policy Alliance, Washington, D.C.
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