Pubdate: Thu, 03 Mar 2016
Source: Victoria Times-Colonist (CN BC)
Copyright: 2016 Times Colonist
Author: Starla Anderson
Page: A13


Re: "Injection sites could save lives," editorial, Feb. 28.

I recently attended a forum on this issue at Victoria city hall,
sponsored by YES2SCS (Yes to Supervised Consumption Services). The
forum was informative and convincing. I learned that over the past
decade in Vancouver, thousands of lives have been saved because people
with addictions have been able to take their drugs at a safe-injection
site with a medical team present.

But safe-injection sites are only the beginning of changes needed to
overcome what is being called an "overdose epidemic" in North America.
In 1972, Canada's federal government financed a royal commission of
inquiry into the non-medical use of drugs (also called the Le Dain
Commission). The commission's key recommendations included legal
distribution of cannabis, and monitoring of cannabis and other drug
use in relation to users' health and societal impacts.

These recommendations were ignored and the criminal focus on the
distribution and use of non-medical drugs remained. If a health model
had been adopted all those years ago, how many fewer deaths would
there have been? And if cannabis had been government-regulated, how
many fewer people would have been incarcerated?

Young people are seduced by the lure of recreational drug use and
escape from mental-health demons, but middle-aged people with what
appear to be good stable lives also get seduced. Until our laws about
drug distribution are more humanely drawn, a safe-injection site is
necessary for anyone with drug addictions who needs the services it

Starla Anderson

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