Pubdate: Fri, 15 Dec 2006
Source: Saanich News (CN BC)
Copyright: 2006 Saanich News
Author: Mark Browne
Bookmark: (Supervised Injection Sites)


If Keith Martin had his way, the Capital Region would become home to a
safe-injection site for intravenous drug users.

"I've been pushing for a safe-injection site like the one in
Vancouver," the Liberal MP for Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca said in recent

Both new and earlier evidence has shown that safe-injection sites are
beneficial, Martin said. The more recent evidence essentially
corroborates earlier evidence showing that safe-injection sites reduce
crime in areas such as break-and-enters and auto theft.

The findings also show a reduction in drug overdoses, dirty needles
and visits that intravenous drug users make to hospital emergency
departments, he said, adding that safe-injection sites have resulted
in more drug users entering detoxification facilities.

However, a safe-injection site by itself will be limited in terms of
addressing all of the problems around intravenous drug use and
addiction, Martin said. He stressed that a safe-injection site must be
accompanied by other harm-reduction features like a shelter for drug
addicts living on the street, expanded detoxification facilities with
more beds, psychiatric therapy, and skills and employment training.

That would ensure "that people who live on the margins of society who
have substance abuse problems do not live in the margins of society,
but can be integrated into society," he said.

Martin has also been vocal about the idea of handing out drugs such as
heroin to intravenous drug users who would access a safe-injection

"Safe-injection sites should be providing the drugs because that way
you'll sever the tie between the user and the criminal element,"
Martin said. "People won't be going out and doing the B&Es and
assaults to get money to pay for their addiction."

As well, drugs provided to addicts who access services at a
safe-injection site wouldn't be "cut" with toxic substances, which is
typically the case with drugs sold by criminals, Martin said.
- ---
MAP posted-by: Larry Seguin