Pubdate: Tue, 29 Nov 2016
Source: Daily Courier, The (CN BC)
Copyright: 2016 The Okanagan Valley Group of Newspapers
Authors: Matthew Burnett, [et al]
Page: A8


To the editor: Interior Health is proposing Safe Injection Facilities
(SIF) in Kelowna and Kamloops.

We, health professionals, community leaders, academics, and frontline
workers who live in Kelowna, are writing to support SIFs in our

Safe Injection Facilities save lives. Peer-reviewed studies show that
fatal overdoses in areas served by a SIF decrease by close to 50 per
cent. SIFs do not increase street crime; in fact, reliable studies
show that they correlate with a significant decrease in vehicle-break

SIFs do not lead to higher rates of illicit drug use, and, because
users come in contact with health care workers, SIFs allow more drug
users to access rehabilitation and other support services.

Relapse rates go down, crime goes down, disease transmission goes
down, and, most importantly, lives are saved.

We understand that there is discomfort with providing a space for
people to engage in behaviour that some find morally objectionable.

However, we urge our fellow Kelownaites to see the opportunity for
SIFs to help illicit drug users transition to healthier, safer, more
productive lives.

Ultimately, we want to save lives.

Dr. Matthew Burnett, registered psychologist

Dr. Michael V. Smith, university professor

Sheila Kerr, Harm Reduction and Outreach worker

Dr. Ruthann Lee, university professor

Mitch Walker, MA, criminologist

Dr. Ann McKinnon, college professor

Katharine Lewall, MSW, social worker

Clare McDonald, executive director, Living Positive Resource

Wilbur Turner, director, board of Living Positive Resource

Dr. Norah Bowman, college professor
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MAP posted-by: Matt