Pubdate: Thu, 19 Jun 2008
Source: Victoria News (CN BC)
Copyright: 2008 Victoria News
Author: Fred Mallach


Re: Look closely at effectiveness of safe injection site (Opinion, June 4)

Coun. Geoff Young makes a good point when he suggests that further
study into Victoria's safe consumption site is necessary before we
move ahead. I agree that we need more discussion regarding this issue.

One idea suggested by Keith Martin was for the site to provide
prescription meds. The City of Victoria's 'Feasibility Study on
Supervised Drug Consumption' was completed in April 2007 and it
identifies one idea that is worth considering.

In polling intravenous drug users one participant stated that
marijuana was very difficult for intravenous drug users to obtain. He
went on to explain that he would prefer to smoke marijuana instead of
using intravenous drugs.

What if the SCS were to dispense medical marijuana in order to divert,
delay, or 'dilute' the use of injection drugs? This is only the first
step in the long process of beating substance abuse.

While the patrons of the SCS are on site they would be able to access
health care services and counseling. As well, if they were using
medical marijuana they might have a healthy snack or meal.

Once an individual has used the facilities, as it were, they are left
on their own, to go back on the street. What if there was a place to
go? Supportive housing would be a good idea.

In order to break the cycle of drug addiction and homelessness,
individuals need a hand up, not a hand out. The challenges of fighting
drug addiction are complex, but if we treat them as ethical issues
instead of moral issues, they can be overcome.

Fred Mallach

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