Pubdate: Sat, 14 Jul 2007
Source: Ottawa Citizen (CN ON)
Copyright: 2007 The Ottawa Citizen
Author: Vicky Smallman


I am appalled but not shocked at council's decision to cancel the
city's crack-pipe program. Despite its controversial nature, the
program is an effective way to reduce the spread of HIV and hepatitis
C among drug users. It does not replace the need for treatment,
education and enforcement. Rather, it and other harm-reduction
strategies should form part of a basket of complementary measures for
dealing with drug use.

According to the city's community network for integrated drug and
addictions strategy, Ottawa has one of the highest rates of HIV and
hep-C infection among drug users in the country -- nine times that of
Toronto. This is a very real problem that will cost our health system
millions in the long run. The crack-pipe program was a cost-effective
way to reduce the infection rate. Eliminating it may score some cheap
political points in the short term, but will cost our community dearly
down the road.

Vicky Smallman,

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