Pubdate: Fri, 05 Jan 2018
Source: Edmonton Journal (CN AB)
Copyright: 2018 The Edmonton Journal
Author: Phil O'Hara
Page: A10


Re. "Opioids kill hundreds," Dec. 28

This is a terrible tragedy and health professionals need to be
supported in their evidence-based efforts to prevent these deaths.

However, this story, like many media reports, inaccurately frames the
approval of four supervised drug injection sites in Edmonton as a
"positive development" in efforts to prevent these deaths.

In contrast, the Journal's headline on the day after these sites were
announced was "Injection sites may do little for fentanyl crisis,
experts say" (Feb. 23, 2017).

This is because Alberta Health reported that two-thirds of
Edmontonians who died from a fentanyl-related overdose in 2016 lived
outside the inner city - the location of all four sites. As well, most
users who ingest fentanyl take it in pill form. Many street drugs that
are inhaled or smoked all too frequently are mixed with fentanyl.

The model of services (as envisioned) at the four approved sites is
designed to serve clients wanting to inject drugs who most likely live
in the inner city.

The public and policy-makers are poorly served when media and health
professionals make unfounded links between complex problems and
wishful solutions.

Phil O'Hara, president, McCauley Community League
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