Pubdate: Tue, 07 Jun 2011 Source: Victoria Times-Colonist (CN BC) Copyright: 2011 Times Colonist Contact: http://www2.canada.com/victoriatimescolonist/letters.html Website: http://www.timescolonist.com/ Details: http://www.mapinc.org/media/481 Author: Kathy Stinson, Chairwoman Downtown Service Providers SERVICE PROVIDERS AND THE ADDICTED 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 raft. Kathy Stinson Victoria - --- MAP posted-by: Richard R Smith Jr.