Pubdate: Thu, 27 May 2010
Source: Victoria Times-Colonist (CN BC)
Copyright: 2010 Times Colonist
Author: Beverly Brookman


The Vancouver Island Health Authority's original St. John's Ambulance 
site was to provide a true integrated service, which is the accepted 
fixed needle exchange harm reduction strategy.

How far it has strayed with its "distributive model fixed needle 
sites" now proposed. This model is inadequate and unacceptable.

A fixed needle exchange is not about needles.

It's about basic health care. It's about compassion. It's about 
community building and belonging. It's about rehabilitation.

Drug users need a space where trained staff handle their health and 
direct their harm reduction. I believe the front-line workers in 
health clinics and other community facilities neither want to 
interact nor have adequate training to provide harm reduction. 
Clientele differences are obvious.

The VIHA decision removes our community's capacity to address open 
drug use and provide basic health care. Violence is being done to too 
many of our citizens. The decision is not only physically dangerous, 
but denies drug users their dignity and leads directly to 
helplessness and hopelessness.

VIHA, the city and particularly the provincial government are all accountable.

Those with the fewest resources both physically and economically are 
being traumatized. We all have responsibility to speak up and demand 
more ethical and compassionate decisions.

Beverly Brookman

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MAP posted-by: Keith Brilhart