Pubdate: Wed, 18 Jan 2006
Source: Esquimalt News (CN BC)
Copyright: 2006 Esquimalt News
Author: Rick Stiebel
Bookmark: (Safe Injecting Rooms)


Liberal Senator Larry Campbell blasted Conservative leader Stephen 
Harper's stand on the safe-injection sites.

"There's a clear difference between the two parties, especially after 
Harper said 'no' to money to fight the drug problem," Campbell said 
during a swing to the West Shore to support incumbent Liberal MP 
Keith Martin. "Harper's attitude is it's a criminal offence, they're 
bad people and should be put in jail."

Campbell, the former mayor of Vancouver and a driving force behind 
Vancouver's safe injection site, said the facility has reduced the 
risk of disease spread by the estimated 3,000 addicts who live there. 
Campbell pointed out that there are now 600 injections a day taking 
place in a safer environment.

"There's been 100 overdoses at the site, and no one's died," he said. 
"The Canadian view is that nothing's more important than life - if it 
saves one life it's worth it."

Martin said that he's been working on a harm-reduction plan with 
Victoria's chief medical officer Dr. Richard Stanwick.

"One of the reasons that I left the Conservatives was because they 
would kill initiatives of that nature," Martin said.

When asked about safe-injection sites at an all-candidates meeting a 
night earlier, Conservative candidate Troy DeSouza expressed opposition.

"I'm not convinced that's the way to go," DeSouza said, adding that 
"it's far too early" to say if the one in Vancouver has been 
successful. Green Party candidate Mike Robinson agrees with 
harm-reduction strategies such as safe-injection sites, but considers 
them a Band-Aid solution, at best a temporary fix.

"Until we deal with the social and poverty issues, we're attacking 
the symptom but not the root cause," said Robinson, who would push 
for more youth leadership initiatives and education.

NDP candidate Randall Garrison openly supports safe-injection sites.

"It's absolute madness to oppose safe-injection sites," he said.

"We all pay the costs in illness without them," he added, pointing 
out the additional burden to health care from treating addiction 
could be lessened by dealing with the cause rather than the result.
- ---
MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom