Pubdate: Sat, 11 Apr 2015
Source: Guardian, The (CN PI)
Copyright: 2015 The Guardian, Charlottetown Guardian Group Incorporated
Author: Donald MacPherson
Page: A12


It's saddening to once again see the serious issue of addiction on
P.E.I. being used as a political football to divide the community
around critical services for people with drug problems. (Letter to ED
April 9, "Safe Injection Site or Safe Streets?"). As someone who
spends a lot of time on P.E.I., I know many who are working hard to
improve the addiction services on the Island. Indeed, Islanders and
people across Canada understand that addiction is a health issue that
should be addressed through comprehensive health responses.

Over 40 peer-reviewed scientific studies of Insite - one of
Vancouver's two supervised injection sites - have demonstrated that it
save lives and health-care dollars, reduces disease transmission, and
promotes entry into addiction treatment. By all measures these clinics
have achieved the goal of improving public health and safety, both for
people who use drugs and the surrounding neighbourhoods. No one has
ever died from a drug overdose at Insite, and those who use it are 30%
more likely to seek treatment.

Realistically, we know that drug use will always be a part of our
society. So let's work to minimize the resulting negative impacts by
working to implement a broad array of public health services.
Supervised injection sites are just one component of that broad array.
And ideally we wouldn't need them. But they are proven to keep people
alive until they can move towards better health. Dead people do not
detox. Supervised injection sites save lives.

Donald MacPherson

Director, Canadian Drug Policy Coalition Vancouver, B.C.
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