Pubdate: Fri, 15 Jun 2007
Source: Vancouver Courier (CN BC)
Copyright: 2007 Vancouver Courier
Author: Sam Sullivan, Mayor, City of Vancouver


To the editor:

I am writing further to Allen Garr's column last Friday regarding 
Vancouver's supervised injection site ("Mayor sacrificing injection 
site," June 8). More specifically, I thought the headline may have 
left your readers with the wrong impression. Let me reassure them 
that I strongly support extending the supervised injection site well 
beyond the current Dec. 31, 2007 expiry date.

During my first 18 months in office as mayor, and previous to that as 
a councillor, I have always worked to support the harm reduction 
pillar and the site that was initiated by previous mayor Phillip Owen.

Last week, I announced plans to convene Vancouver's Four Pillars 
Coalition for a strategic session next month. The meeting will review 
progress, identify next steps and develop a strategy to support 
Vancouver Coastal Health's federal application for a 3.5 year 
extension for Vancouver's supervised injection site (SIS).

The Coalition will also receive an update on the Chronic Addiction 
Substitution Treatment (CAST) initiative. I am very proud to support 
this important research trial led by the Inner Change Society and its 
board of directors, which includes Joy MacPhail, John Reynolds, Dr. 
Don Rix and David Holtzman.

The goal of CAST is to move people suffering from drug addiction from 
illegal drug and needle use to legal pill medicines prescribed by 
their doctor. If CAST is successful, it will reduce homelessness and 
criminal activity, increase employment and get people off drugs entirely.

CAST and the supervised injection site are complementary initiatives. 
We can support both. They offer hope that we can eliminate the open 
drug market and the use of needles to inject illegal drugs.

The bottom line is that when it comes to battling drug addiction, the 
status quo is not an option. We must continue to pursue innovation as 
we develop compassionate solutions to the social challenges we face.

Mayor Sam Sullivan City of Vancouver
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom