Pubdate: Wed, 23 Mar 2016
Source: Victoria News (CN BC)
Copyright: 2016 Black Press
Author: Kendra Wong


Island Health is throwing its support behind the idea of establishing
a supervised consumption site in Greater Victoria.

In a letter to Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps, Catherine MacKay, Island
Health executive vice president and chief operating officer, said it
has begun discussions with relevant stakeholders to bring a site to

"Island Health is in the beginning stages of embarking on planning
with various stakeholders around the potential establishment of
supervised consumption services on the South Island, including in the
City of Victoria," MacKay said in the letter.

"We believe extensive and ongoing collaborative work will be required
over the coming months to develop a model for proposed service delivery."

Victoria Coun. Marianne Alto has been at the forefront, bringing
together representatives from the Victoria Police Department, Yes2
Supervised Consumption Site (Yes2SCS), and Island Health to discuss
the issue. Representatives have been meeting formally every two weeks
for the past few months.

"(The city's) position at this point is a facilitator. We're hosting
meetings and providing an ability for the primary players - the health
authority, the police department and the community - to come together
and have the sometimes challenging but very productive conversations
that are necessary to imagine a service like this," said Alto during a
meeting last Thursday.

Based on conversations so far, Alto noted the site would focus on
providing medical supervision for drugs that could result in an
overdose and potential death. It would include other health services
as well.

However, one of the biggest challenges is a bill introduced by the
former Conservative government, which comes with strict requirements
before the federal government will approve the site.

Coun. Geoff Young said the city should be cautious when moving

"I see this as an undesirable half-way house. It's one that I don't
think can continue or will be seen as desirable in the long-run. I can
see enormous issues with finding a location for it," he said.

At the end of June, officials will complete an evaluation of the
process and give an update of how much left there is to do.
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