Pubdate: Thu, 25 Mar 2010
Source: Victoria Times-Colonist (CN BC)
Copyright: 2010 Times Colonist
Author: Richard Watts, Times Colonist
Bookmark: (Harm Reduction)
Bookmark: (Needle Exchange)
Bookmark: (Treatment)


An addiction centre's lease terms rule out a needle exchange on the
site, an owner of the building said yesterday.

John Hayes, co-owner of the building at 1250 Quadra St. and president
of Newport Property Management, which looks after it, said the lease
with the Vancouver Island Health Authority specifically excludes a
needle exchange in the building.

Hayes said the special clause was inserted about six years ago out of
concern for other tenants in the building, which include the B.C.
Automobile Association and Starbucks.

Last week, it was revealed the health authority was considering
handing out needles and other drug paraphernalia at its Addiction
Outpatient Treatment office.

The centre was one of 60 sites being considered for needle
distribution as part of the authority's harm-reduction efforts,
intended to stop the spread of diseases like AIDS or hepatitis C
through sharing of used needles.

Specialists who treat addicts working to get clean have said joining
addiction treatment and harm reduction is a bad fit, since just the
sight of needles could be a trigger for an addict to use again.

Suzanne Germain, spokeswoman for the health authority, said terms of
the lease are being examined. But Germain said needles will likely not
be exchanged in the treatment centre, since VIHA opted in November for
what it's called a "distributive approach" to harm reduction in
Victoria. Instead of a single needle exchange, sterile drug gear would
be available at various operations around the city, such as public
health clinics.

That decision ended a controversy stretching back before 2008, when a
fixed needle exchange operated on Cormorant Street. Neighbours were
outraged by public disturbances by addicts and discarded debris, until
the landlord finally evicted the operation. 
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