Pubdate: Thu, 13 Feb 2014
Source: Georgia Straight, The (CN BC)
Copyright: 2014 The Georgia Straight
Author: Travis Lupick


MAYOR GREGOR ROBERTSON, the Vancouver Police Department, and St.
Paul's Hospital are just three of many supporters who have thrown
their weight behind an application that would see North America's
second legal supervised-injection facility operate in the city's West

On January 28, the Dr. Peter AIDS Foundation and Vancouver Coastal
Health filed a submission with Health Canada for an exemption from
section 56 of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act.

If approved, the Dr. Peter Centre on Comox Street will have the
federal government's permission to offer services like those provided
at Insite in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside.

In a telephone interview, Dr. Peter Centre executive director Maxine
Davis said she's confident the application will receive Ottawa's stamp
of approval.

"It's a very strong submission that strikes a balance between the
health care that injection-drug users need and addressing public
safety matters," she told the Straight. "We have included letters of
support that were actually quite gratifying to read."

In addition to the mayor, the VPD, and St. Paul's, Davis said the Dr.
Peter Centre also collected letters of support from the West End
Residents Association, the West End Business Improvement Association,
Mole Hill Community Housing Society, and neighbourhood churches, among

A February 13 VCH media release quotes B.C. Health Minister Terry Lake
and Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson voicing their support for the

"Supervised injection services both at the Dr. Peter Centre and Insite
have become an indispensable public health resource in our community,
preventing overdose deaths and the spread of disease," said Robertson
quoted in the release. "They have also been a vital component of
Vancouver's work to tackle addiction with prevention, treatment, and
referrals to additional social and health services."

Davis noted that Dr. Peter Centre actually has a long history
providing supervised-injection care dating back to 2002.

She recalled a pair of nonfatal overdoses that occurred earlier that
year that prompted staff to reach out to the College of Registered
Nurses of British Columbia. "It galvanized us to look at how we might
respond so that this didn't happen while we were providing health
care," Davis said.

The CRNBC advised the Dr. Peter Centre that supervising injections
fell within the scope of registered nursing practices and provisions
of the B.C. Health Professions Act.

Since then, Davis continued, staff at the Dr. Peter centre have
supervised an estimated 10,000 injections to some 150 patients. Just
like with Insite, not one overdose death has occurred.

Spencer Chandra Herbert is NDP MLA for Vancouver-West End. In a
telephone interview, he told the Straight that it's telling the Dr.
Peter Centre has provided supervised-injection services for 12 years
with few people seeming to notice it's even there.

"There has been zero detrimental impact in terms of public safety,"
Chandra Herbert said. "I would argue that there is actually a positive
impact towards public safety and that it actually makes the area safer."  
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