Pubdate: Fri, 13 Jul 2007
Source: Ottawa Citizen (CN ON)
Copyright: 2007 The Ottawa Citizen
Author: Richard Elliott


The cancellation of this program by Ottawa City Council is 
irresponsible and short-sighted.

It's entirely misleading to suggest that this program somehow 
encouraged drug use. The evidence gathered by the city's own 
evaluation of the program showed this was not the case.

Distributing safer crack use kits is a sensible way to prevent 
additional harms, like the spread of HIV or hepatitis. This is the 
same reasoning behind needle-exchange programs, which, by reducing 
the sharing of needles, also reduce the risk of transmitting 
blood-borne diseases. These pragmatic programs help protect public 
health, plain and simple.

As Ottawa's chief medical officer of health told council, such 
programs are a sensible investment of taxpayers' dollars, considering 
the savings to the public purse of preventing new cases of HIV or 
hepatitis C infection.

The mayor and councillors who voted to end the crack-pipe program 
ignored the scientific evidence and advice of their top health 
official. In doing so, they took a sorry step backward for public 
health and for human rights.

Richard Elliott,


Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network
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