Pubdate: Tue, 16 Mar 2010
Source: Victoria Times-Colonist (CN BC)
Copyright: 2010 Times Colonist
Author: Derek Peach


I attended the meeting held by Harm Reduction Victoria Sunday under
the big tree on Pandora Street. This is the place where the people
most in need of harm reduction efforts can be found and it is where,
except for the failure of VIHA to honour its mandate and city
officials to act responsibly, a safe injection site or at least a
distribution point for clean injection supplies might have been
located. The drug users have not gone away because there isn't any
"away" for them to go to, and the effects of injection drug use --
rising rates of HIV/AIDS and Hep C, substitution of crack smoking for
injection drugs and overdose deaths -- have not been addressed.

I'm 68, and I attended because it's my city too.

HRV spokeswoman Kim Toombs reiterated that the group's message has not
changed in two years -- VIHA should do its job and provide health care
for injection drug users as they are charged with doing for all other
citizens; health care should include a safe place for addicts to
inject, but at the least it should include a fixed-site needle
exchange centre where street nurses might have some opportunity to
service health needs; and that the city of Victoria act on the
research and provide space for these sites.

Those at the meeting asked for things that research has said must be
provided if a jurisdiction is serious about reducing public mortality
from disease and the expenses associated with injection drug users.

Derek Peach

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