Pubdate: Tue, 28 Oct 2008
Source: Prince George Free Press (CN BC)
Copyright: 2008 BC Newspaper Group
Author: George Abbott



I'd like to respond to Bill Dwyer.

The spread of disease due to drug activity is a matter of great
concern. To effectively combat this problem, we are working to not
only reduce drug use, but also reduce the harm caused by the sharing
of drug paraphernalia.

In 2007, 2,893 new hepatitis C and 395 new HIV cases were diagnosed in
B.C. The majority of new infections can be traced back to high risk
behaviours, such as shared needles or pipes or unprotected sex.

This government dedicates millions annually to the prevention,
education and treatment of transmissible diseases. Our responsibility
is not only to protect British Columbians, but to reduce the impact on
our health system. For example, the typical cost of annual anti-viral
drug treatment for just one individual infected with hepatitis C is
about $20,000. We estimate the total annual cost for the entire region
of providing supplies that help users avoid infection to be less than
$11,000. Taking measures to reduce the risk of contracting the disease
prevents unnecessary suffering for individuals and reduces the
financial burden of ongoing treatment on the system.

George Abbott Minister of Health Service
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