Pubdate: Wed, 12 Jul 2006
Source: Esquimalt News (CN BC)
Copyright: 2006 Esquimalt News
Author: Brennan Clarke
Bookmark: (Safe Injecting Rooms)
Bookmark: (Heroin)


Victoria's aspirations for a safe injection site will suffer a 
premature death if the federal government pulls the plug on 
Vancouver's safe injection facility, Mayor Alan Lowe said.

Lowe noted that the federal government has yet to extend the licence 
for Vancouver's safe injection site and said a decision to terminate 
the pilot project would stall momentum in Victoria toward a similar site.

"It would kill our safe injection site and I don't want to see that 
happen," said Lowe.

The Vancouver facility, InSite, is a pilot project made possible by 
an exemption under the Canada Health Act allowing clients to use 
illegal drugs on the premises, including heroin and crack cocaine.

But with that exemption due to expire in September and Prime Minister 
Stephen Harper stating publicly that his government opposes legalized 
drug use, supporters of a safe injection site for Victoria are not optimistic.

"The safe consumption sites are part of an overall strategy to save 
lives and without that in our tool kit it makes the work of saving 
lives in Victoria more difficult," said AIDS Vancouver Island 
spokesperson Erik Ages. "It would be a great shame to take a step 
back from that direction," he said.

Meanwhile, the Vancouver Island Health Authority is proceeding with 
research and budgetary groundwork for a safe injection site 
regardless of what happens on the Mainland.

The Island's chief medical health officer, Richard Stanwick, is 
developing a business plan that will be submitted to the VIHA board 
of directors in the coming months. However, budgetary approval would 
not be contemplated until 2007-08 at the earliest.
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