Pubdate: Wed, 14 Nov 2001
Source: Edmonton Sun (CN AB)
Copyright: 2001, Canoe Limited Partnership.
Author: Dan Palmer
Bookmark: (Safe Injecting Rooms)


A federal plan to support safe injection sites for hard-drug users - if a 
set of conditions is met first - got a partial thumbs up from the local 
authorities yesterday.

Health Minister Allan Rock has said he would support the controversial 
idea, but only if city and provincial governments and local health boards, 
along with the police, give written support to the idea.

Dr. Gerry Predy, Capital Health's medical officer of health, said the idea 
is worth looking at, but agrees getting the community and agencies which 
deal with drugs on-side first is key. "Nobody will want a safe 
drug-injection site in their neighbourhood," he said.

Although city police Chief Bob Wasylyshen was unavailable for comment 
yesterday, police spokesman Sgt. Jeff Anderson said the chief is behind the 

"He's pretty much still online with it," said Anderson, stressing that 
doesn't mean the chief condones drug use. "He suggests that injection sites 
would reduce the number of fatal injections."

The theory behind legalized intravenous drug-use sites, also dubbed 
"shooting galleries," is they could reduce the number of fatal infections 
and give junkies a safe place away from the violence of the drug trade.

"In days when resources are scarce, you have to be creative," said 
Anderson. "(However) you need an awful lot of support for something like that."

That support doesn't appear to be coming from local politicians. Edmonton 
Centre Canadian Alliance MP Peter Goldring said Edmonton shouldn't even be 
talking about the idea. "Making safe houses condones it. That sends a 
terrible message," he said.

Edmonton's Ward 5 Coun. Bryan Anderson said the idea can be discussed, but 
it won't get his support.
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