Pubdate: Sun, 03 Apr 2016
Source: Victoria Times-Colonist (CN BC)
Copyright: 2016 Times Colonist
Author: Brett Harper
Page: A11


Re: "Reduce harm from drug sites," editorial, March 29.

What if there were a service in Victoria that would reduce the number 
of people injecting on the streets and in alleyways, cut the number 
of discarded needles and increased entry into other health-care 
services for those entrenched in illicit drug use?

This service would save lives at a time when our community is 
experiencing an unprecedented number of deaths.

Such a service exists right across the water, where there are two 
locations and several more in the works. Insite and the Dr. Peter 
Centre operate supervised-injection services in Vancouver that have 
been extensively evaluated and shown to have benefits for both the 
individual and the community.

These services save lives, decrease crime in the surrounding area and 
are supported by the local business improvement association and 
neighbouring schools. They are low-barrier, well-funded and 
integrated into neighbourhoods where other health services are provided.

We can benefit from the example of these services as we move to 
implement them on Vancouver Island. Like all health services, 
injection services need to be properly resourced to be effective and 
they need to be accessible and available at times and places where 
they will be used by the people who need them.

These are services that can't come soon enough for Vancouver Island. 
The B.C. Coroners Service is investigating more than 30 overdose 
deaths from the past four months alone across the Island. Despite 
everyone's best efforts, the current approach is obviously not enough.

Brett Harper Chair, board of directors AIDS Vancouver Island
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