Pubdate: Thu, 19 Oct 2017
Source: Edmonton Journal (CN AB)
Copyright: 2017 The Edmonton Journal
Author: Jonny Wakefield
Page: A3


Supporters of Edmonton's Chinatown and urban community league members
say they 're disappointed with the Ottawa's approval of four
supervised drug consumption sites in the city's core.

"We feel that it's an extremely unfair decision, and not
well-informed," Michael Lee, chairman of the Chinese Benevolent
Association, said Wednesday.

"The basic rights of some communities (were) totally

Alberta Health announced Wednesday that its federal counterpart had
approved three supervised injection sites in Edmonton's downtown core
and supervised consumption services for inpatients at the Royal
Alexandra Hospital.

Supervised injection would be offered at the Boyle McCauley Health
Centre, Boyle Street Community Services and the George Spady Society -
agencies that already serve people who use drugs.

Advocates say supervised injection reduces deadly overdoses and
minimizes the spread of diseases by providing drug users with sterile

But some critics say concentrating the sites in the core will make
those neighbourhoods a magnet for drug use and crime.

Lee criticized the consultation process, saying some business owners
near the proposed injection sites did not know about the plan.

Access to Medically Supervised Injection Services Edmonton, the
coalition behind the application to Health Canada, said it knocked on
850 doors and met with community leagues, law enforcement, business
associations and substance users.

Warren Champion, a director with the Central McDougall Community
League, said the locations don't make sense because most overdose
deaths - around 70 per cent, according to Alberta Health - happen
outside the core.

Lee and Champion worried the cluster of sites risk turning their
communities into Vancouver's Downtown Eastside, home to Canada's first
supervised injection site.

"There's no rationale for it," Champion said. "If you look at the maps
of where people are dying, you can argue maybe there should be four
injection sites, and maybe one should be in the urban core."

Marliss Taylor, manager of Boyle Street Community Services'
Streetworks program, said the sites would not be the same as
facilities in Vancouver and Montreal, which each have about 15 booths.

Edmonton's facilities would be "micro-sites": five booths each at
Boyle Street and Boyle McCauley and three at the George Spady, she
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