Pubdate: Mon, 21 Mar 2016
Source: Metro (Edmonton, CN AB)
Copyright: 2016 Metro Canada
Author: Ryan Tumilty
Page: 4


Supervised Drug Injections Limits Overdoses, Says Researcher

A local group is looking to bring supervised drug injection sites to 
Edmonton to prevent overdoses and curb the spread of disease.

The group, Access to Medically Supervised Injection Services Edmonton 
(AMSISE), is hoping to create a site in Edmonton.

Unlike Insite in Vancouver, AMSISE wants to partner with an existing 
agency rather than set up a new site.

Elaine Hyshka, a researcher in the School of Public Health at the 
University of Alberta and a member of the group, said she studied 320 
users last year and found 80 per cent indicated they had injected 
drugs in a public place. She also found through surveys that 26 per 
cent of them had shared needles.

Hyshka said while the city has a needle exchange program they are not 
open around the clock.

"One of the main barriers that they reported that was at the root of 
that sharing, was not being able to access sterile supplies," she said.

She said a supervised injection site would could significantly reduce 
overdoses and prevent other medical problems.

"It would provide a sterile and safe environment where people could 
access other services and receive medical attention from nurses."

She said it could also help people get long-term help dealing with 
their addictions.

"This service provides a conduit to treatment and other long-term 
health care solutions."

Opening a supervised injection site requires an exemption from the 
federal government. Hyshka said the group has more work to do to 
refine their proposal and then seeking a permit could take several 
months as well. Coun. Scott Mckeen said he believes Edmontonians 
aren't going to push back hard against the idea.

"I signalled in a few places that I am supportive and so far I 
haven't received any negative comments."

McKeen said most people understand addiction is a health-care issue 
and he believes the approval of sites in individual neighbourhoods 
doesn't have to be a public issue.

"I don't know why anyone would need to know."
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