Pubdate: Fri, 01 Feb 2013
Source: Victoria Times-Colonist (CN BC)
Copyright: 2013 Times Colonist
Author: Esther Callo


Fernwood will get a needle exchange without public consultation. At a 
meeting on Wednesday, a panel of "stakeholders" announced that old 
services were being "enhanced" with "health supplies," according to 
their own information sheet.

It was explained to the standing-room-only crowd that the panel saw 
no need for public consultation. A multitude of complaints about the 
former needle exchange that closed in 2008 led them to believe that 
they could navigate change without further input.

Members of the public expressed concern that the site is located near 
two schools: Vic High and George Jay. The panel responded by saying 
that Vancouver-based Supervised Consumption Services has been 
demonstrated to function well within larger communities. The concept 
was met with optimism from the audience.

But Fernwood will not be getting SCS. Apparently, though it has been 
recommended since 2002, there has not been enough time to gather 
resources. Instead, we will be getting a needle exchange that 
encourages use of drugs off-site, likely in Fernwood, perhaps on 
school grounds.

Is that really the best the Vancouver Island Health Authority can do?

Esther Callo

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