Pubdate: Tue, 17 Jul 2001
Source: Abbotsford News (CN BC)
Copyright: 2001 Hacker Press Ltd.
Fax: 604-853-9808
Authors: David Nickel & Frederick J. Hall


Editor, The News:

This is an open letter to Abbotsford city council members:

Re: Needle exchange program in Abbotsford.

The board of directors of the Clearbrook Golden Age Society, on 
behalf of its more than 340 members, have passed a motion stating 
their absolute opposition to the establishment of any type of "harm 
reduction" programs (such as needle exchanges, safe injection sites, 
methadone clinics, etc.) in the City of Abbotsford.

We would urge you, our elected representatives, to oppose any and all 
applications, proposals, etc. to establish a needle exchange program 
in Abbotsford.

In a recent edition of the Abbotsford News, it was reported that the 
city has placed health as the number one priority for its residents. 
The issue of needle exchanges will be more than a social planning 
problem or a geographical zoning application; it is a 
life-threatening health and medical issue.

The board also recommends that appropriate treatment centres (such as 
detox) be provided the necessary funding to help treat IV drug users 
get off this deadly disease rather than encouraging it by offering 
free needle giveaways.

Abbotsford is a crossroads and a gateway to southern B.C., Canada and 
the U.S. If we provide free needles, we could potentially become a 
hub for drug activity.

Previously, we stated that this is a life-threatening health and 
medical issue. The City of Abbotsford is getting a new hospital. Will 
it house and provide a treatment facility? If there is to be a needle 
exchange anywhere, it should be at a hospital.

And what about the $70 million-plus expansion at the federal Matsqui 
prison complex, which will create the largest prison hospital in 

We are told that over 75 per cent of our prison population suffers 
from drug addiction. This would seem to be the logical place for 
detox and drug treatment. There are also other local treatment 
centres available, including Teen Challenge in Yarrow and the 
Salvation Army's Miracle Valley north of Mission.

We also understand that our Member of Parliament, Mr. Randy White, 
has been asked to serve as vice-chairman of a special committee of 
the House of Commons which has been charged with the responsibility 
of studying the non-medical use of drugs within Canada and make 
recommendations with regards to reducing problems associated with the 
use of the same.

We would urge you again to resist and refrain from implementing any 
type of "harm reduction" programs until the results of the "special 
committee's" findings are published and our community has had the 
opportunity for a full discussion over the implications of such 

David Nickel, chairman

Frederick J. Hall, CEO/manager

Clearbrook Golden Age Society
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