Pubdate: Sat, 05 May 2001
Source: Abbotsford News (CN BC)
Copyright: 2001 Hacker Press Ltd.
Author: Russ Akins


Does the City of Abbotsford need a needle exchange for drug

The answer is no, according to a resident who appeared before city
councillors yesterday.

Marcyne Heinrichs asked elected official to deny any proposals for
needle exchanges, and that councillors be cautious about an exchange
being slipped in under another name in the future.

Her comments came as city staff recommended councillors attend the
Lower Mainland Municipal Association's (LMMA) "crime and drug misuse
strategy'' workshop, to be held May 11 at Harrison Hot Springs.

That event will be attended by Coun. Patricia Ross and Mayor George

In a report from economic development officer Jay Teichroeb, it was
noted the city could play a facilitator role in working with various
agencies in choosing suitable locations for drug-related facilities.

The issue has aroused concern from the Abbotsford Downtown Business
Association. In January, the ADBA told council that government funds
should be directed at recovery programs, not needle exchanges.

Staff told council that Jackson Murray, 33786 Hazel St. has operated
an addiction counselling agency since December, 2000. Programs include
a supervised referral program allowing clients to obtain methadone
from authorized pharmacies.

It does not dispense methadone or operate a needle exchange, council
was told.

The LMMA is pondering a regional plan to reduce "preventable harm,''
including crime, resulting from drug and alcohol abuse.

Asked Heinrichs: "We are about to embark on a $72 million expansion at
Matsqui (prison) complex, to be the largest prison hospital in Canada. Will
this facility include drug treatment?''

She added: "Free needles facilitate the habit - dealers reap the
profits. Direct funding not to harm reduction, but to rehabilitation
or detox.'' Council voted to receive her delegation.
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MAP posted-by: Andrew