Pubdate: Tue, 23 Jul 2013
Source: Calgary Herald (CN AB)
Copyright: 2013 Canwest Publishing Inc.
Author: Donald MacPherson
Page: C15


Re: "Vancouver's easy drug access may have helped kill Monteith," Licia 
Corbella, Opinion, July 19.

Licia Corbella's column sets a new standard in the realm of absurd
arguments to undermine supervised injection sites like Vancouver's
Insite. It is especially shocking in the aftermath of Monteith's
tragic overdose death.

Corbella's reference to her own addiction to "double crunch sushi" is
offensive in the face of the hundreds of people who have died or been
hospitalized from drug overdoses in Alberta and B.C. over the past 10
years. It displays a stunning lack of understanding of the plight of
people who use drugs and the loss so many experience - their families,
friends and colleagues.

To use Monteith's tragic death as an opportunity to undermine a
valuable health service that responds to overdoses by preventing them
is abhorrent. Injection sites first opened in Switzerland over 25
years ago as part of a comprehensive response to problematic drug use,
HIV and drug overdose. They have been replicated in many European
countries, Australia and Canada. There has not been one overdose death
recorded in the 70-plus injection rooms globally. The irony is, had
Monteith used Insite, the evidence suggests he would have lived.
Corbella has it backwards - supervised injection sites save lives.

Donald MacPherson, Vancouver Donald MacPherson is director of the
Canadian Drug Policy Coalition at Simon Fraser University.
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