Pubdate: Thu, 20 Mar 2008
Source: Victoria Times-Colonist (CN BC)
Copyright: 2008 Times Colonist
Author: Fred Mallach


The needle exchange represents all of the dark spirits that still
torment us -- fear and disease, hunger and hopelessness. But if we
hold on to hope we can solve these problems.

Three years ago, I attended a number of community meetings regarding
Victoria's policy on harm reduction. At the time, one of the key
elements of the program was the establishment of a safe consumption
site. Since then, very little has been done regarding this.

I would like to see the needle exchange relocated to the former St.
John Ambulance building on Pandora Avenue. As well, I want to see a
safe consumption site as part of the facility.

If we do not provide a safe consumption site, we will not be able to
stop the open use of drugs on the street.

Victoria needs to take a leadership role in providing a
safe-consumption site in conjunction with the Vancouver Island Health
Authority, the needle exchange. This will allow for the development of
the continuum of care, which is part of the harm-reduction model.

This is such an important social issue that if the stakeholders cannot
resolve it, I believe it should become an election issue.

Fred Mallach,

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MAP posted-by: Derek