Pubdate: Mon, 06 May 2002
Source: Vancouver Sun (CN BC)
Copyright: 2002 The Vancouver Sun
Author: Jennifer Clarke


Like my colleagues on council, I continue to support the much talked about 
"four-pillar approach" which provides an integrated framework for dealing 
with the tragedy of drug addiction and its debilitating impact on people 
and neighbourhoods.

I've had the chance to take a firsthand look at a similar approach in 
Frankfurt and Amsterdam which pioneered the notion that drug addiction is, 
first and foremost, a health issue. In both cities, their supervised 
injection sites are part of an integrated plan that combines law 
enforcement with treatment and harm reduction and they work very well as a 
first point of entry into a continuum of medical care. It certainly doesn't 
amount to supervised injection sites without coordinated implementation 
connected to treatment services and the strictest law enforcement. The 
integrated plan helps ensure their programs work, and that's what I want to 
see here in Vancouver.

The controversy over the possibility of a piloted supervised injection site 
here has arisen because there has been no discussion yet with the affected 
communities and responsible agencies about how it would be implemented and 
how it would integrate into the other three pillars --treatment, 
enforcement and prevention. Addicts using the site will still be buying an 
illegal street drug they must finance through theft and prostitution.

Clearly, this discussion should include measurable and accountable goals 
for success. It is that integration that the four-pillar approach is all 
about and I continue to support it.

Jennifer Clarke

Vancouver City Council
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