Pubdate: Sat, 14 Jul 2007
Source: National Post (Canada)
Copyright: 2007 Southam Inc.
Author: Beth Lusk


Re: Ottawa Cancels Crack Pipe Program Despite Plea From Chief Medical
Officer, July 12.

Today is a sad day for public health in the city of Ottawa. Ottawa
City Council's abrupt decision to end the distribution of safer
crack-use kits to drug users in the area is a monumental blow to what
otherwise might have been a very promising four-pillar drug strategy.
In removing the harm-reduction component, city council is removing a
widely used, highly effective method of preventing transmission of
Hepatitis, HIV and other communicable infections related to such drug
use -- and all for a measly $7,500 per year in tax dollars.

Saving six to 12 lives a year for $7,500 is a pretty good deal. Ending
this excellent, progressive program, which also increases access for a
marginalized population to health care workers, counselling and
education, is absolutely an inappropriate solution to ease the valid
concerns of some residents. Surely there is another way. It's worth it
to all residents of Ottawa to find one.

Beth Lusk,

registered nurse, Ottawa
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