Pubdate: Tue, 07 Jun 2011
Source: Victoria Times-Colonist (CN BC)
Copyright: 2011 Times Colonist
Author: Kathy Stinson, Chairwoman Downtown Service Providers


The recent series on addictions has highlighted a few of the
challenges faced by people struggling with substance use problems. It
has highlighted many of the deficits in our community, from the lack
of a fixed-site needle exchange to the lack of residential treatment
facilities on Vancouver Island.

Yet people who wandered down to Harm Reduction Awareness Day in
Centennial Square on June 1 would have had their eyes opened to many
of the assets in our community. Several member organizations of the
Downtown Service Providers were there, highlighting what we do really
well for people with addictions - we connect, we support, we help.

Using evidence-based approaches, such as accessible health-care
models, service providers are out there every single day meeting
people where they are and linking them to health care, food services
and shelter. By building relationships with our clients - as people
not as "addicts" - we are able to offer them the best services that
resources allow for.

Are we meeting the need? Sadly, we're not. Is there more work to be
done, more services needed? Certainly.

But are we "enabling addicts and trapping them in their addictions?"
To this we answer a resounding no - we're standing there with a life

Kathy Stinson

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