Criminalization of simple drug possession has had 'devastating
effect,' says AIDS Saskatoon director
A Saskatoon police spokeswoman said city police generally lay drug
possession charges as a result of an investigation into something else.
Criminalization of possession of illicit drugs for personal use has
had a "devastating effect," says the AIDS Saskatoon's executive director.
Jason Mercredi said he fully supports a call by the Canadian
Association of Chiefs of Police on the federal government to
decriminalize simple possession of illicit drugs for personal use. The
CACP made the call last week after issuing its findings in a report.
[continues 746 words]
The 2011 Supreme Court of Canada ruling on Vancouver's Insite clinic
clearly established 1) that supervised consumption sites are part of
health-care services that should be made accessible to people who use
drugs, 2) that these sites contribute to reducing the harms associated
with drug use, and 3) that denying access to these sites increases the
risk of death and disease.
In addition to saving lives every day, these sites act as an essential
point of contact for people to access much-needed health-care services
that have been proven effective to reduce overdoses, blood-borne
infections (hepatitis C and HIV), infections (i.e., skin, soft tissue,
heart and blood infections) and other medical complications. They also
help connect people who use drugs with social services and support to
address housing and food insecurity, mental health issues, trauma and
[continues 595 words]
The Minnesota Department of Health is adding the degenerative
neurological disorder to its cannabis program, which includes cancer
pain, epileptic seizures, PTSD and autism. Research is limited, but
findings suggest that cannabis inhibits the formation of proteins
linked to memory loss and dementia.
Alzheimer's disease will be eligible for treatment with medical
marijuana in Minnesota starting next year, becoming the 14th health
condition certified by the state since the program began in 2015.
The Minnesota Department of Health announced Monday that it was adding
the degenerative neurological disorder to its cannabis program, which
already includes cancer pain, epileptic seizures, post-traumatic
stress disorder and autism.
[continues 525 words]
Northwest Ohio Syringe Services has begun distributing fentanyl test
strips to active users of opioids and other drugs. The exchange, a
program through the Toledo-Lucas County Health Department, is part of
a larger strategy of harm reduction to keep people with addiction
issues healthy while using, and provide them with resources and help
when they want to seek treatment.
Fentanyl has become the scourge of anyone trying to fight Ohio's
opioid epidemic: deadly in small quantities and appearing in an
increasing number of fatal overdoses.
[continues 661 words]
For years, Kentucky veterans have approached us with a question that
has no good answer: "Why are my comrades in other states able to treat
PTSD and pain with medical cannabis while I cannot?"
Frustrated and confused, these men and women struggle daily with the
effects of post-traumatic stress triggered by the horrors of war and
chronic pain from injuries suffered in combat.
One is Eric Pollack whose PTSD became so unbearable that he nearly
became part of a depressing statistic. In Kentucky, the veteran
suicide rate is 10 percent higher than the national average.
[continues 694 words]
OTTAWA - Setting up tattoo parlours and needle-exchange programs in
penitentiaries would help reduce the spread of hepatitis C, the
federal prison service has told the Trudeau government.
A Correctional Service memo obtained under the Access to Information
Act advises Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale to round out existing
and planned measures to fight hepatitis and HIV in prison.
Prison tattooing and needle-exchange programs for drug users have
generated intense controversy over the years, and the March 2017 memo
says detailed research should be carried out before embarking on a
syringe needle program, in particular, "to avoid unintended and
negative consequences for inmates."
[continues 459 words]
The Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit has expanded its harm-reduction
strategy related to intravenous drug users.
With opioid addiction an increasing problem in the local area and
elsewhere, the health unit has set up three 24-hour disposal sites
where users can dispose of old needles.
Needle disposal is a concern for health officials because intravenous
drug abuse is highly correlated with blood-borne illnesses, such as
HIV and hepatitis.
Used needles that aren't properly disposed pose a hazard to young
people who may pick them up or people passing by who are inadvertently
[continues 235 words]
Committee to look at report next week
Sudbury could become home to a safe injection site.
The community services committee will hear next week about the
prospect of undertaking a feasibility study for a site, which will
cost $150,000 to $200,000. Council is being asked to endorse the report.
"Through community consultations, under the mental health and
compassionate city community priorities, the suggested action includes
the study of and possible
establishment of a supervised injection site," a staff report
indicates. "In addition, the establishment of (a safe injection site)
has been prioritized by the community drug strategy as part of the
harm reduction pillar area of responsibility."
[continues 439 words]
Health unit under fire for perceived lack of urgency in pursuing
Matt Cascadden, who lost seven friends last year to the raging opioid
epidemic, is convinced a safe injection site in Windsor would save
"It should be pushed, I think we need it big time, now," the
36-year-old Windsor man and former drug user said Thursday.
Now living in a downtown residence, Cascadden contemplated the impact
such a centre - part of an overdose prevention site currently being
offered by the Ontario government - would have on the growing number
of addicts who shoot up in parks, alleys and backyards.
[continues 1009 words]
TALLAHASSEE -- Two years after lawmakers approved a needle-and-syringe
exchange program in Miami-Dade County, the House and Senate are
considering taking it statewide and expanding the types of providers
who can offer the services.
House and Senate health care-panels on Wednesday approved bills that
would allow hospitals, clinics, medical schools and substance-abuse
treatment programs to begin offering needle-and-syringe exchange
programs to try to reduce the spread of diseases such as HIV, which
the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated cost nearly
$380,000 to treat over a lifetime.
[continues 273 words]
A University of Calgary researcher says the city's supervised
consumption site is important not only for people who use opioids, but
for those who consume other substances such as meth, which was cited
as the most frequently used substance during a recent study of drug
users in Calgary.
The research was conducted as part of a harm reduction needs
assessment for Calgary that launched in June 2017 and wrapped up in
the fall. The study included 370 people in the city who use substances
other than alcohol or marijuana.
[continues 472 words]
CAMBRIDGE - An innovative new peer-based pilot project will be
launched in Cambridge early next year with the aim of curbing improper
needle disposal in the community.
The project is a partnership between Region of Waterloo Public Health,
which will provide funding, Sanguen Health Centre and the City of Cambridge.
Along with removing needles through patrols and education, it will
offer employment and skill development to people who have experienced
substance abuse; they will be hired as the peer workers.
"There is no harm in trying other methods to connect people and get
them on board," said Violet Umanetz, Sanguen's outreach manager. "The
peers do so well working in the community."
[continues 538 words]
The United States' overall rate of hepatitis C infection more than
doubled from 2004 to 2014 -- and among people under 40, it increased
by 300 to 400 percent.
The reason for the jump? Transmission through injecting opioid drugs,
said a report published Thursday in the American Journal of Public
Lead author Jon Zibbell, senior public health analyst in the
Behavioral and Urban Health program of North Carolina-based RTI
International, said public health officials have long presumed the
link, but the research, performed in conjunction with a number of
other agencies, provides data to back it up.
[continues 580 words]
LANCASTER, Pa. (AP) - Charles Grugan's drug addiction took a toll on
They tried to help him, but on Oct. 12, 2011, Grugan 33, overdosed on
heroin. He never recovered.
While on life support in a regional hospital, doctors approached his
family and showed them his driver's license.
Grugan had made the decision to be an organ donor when he was 18 years
His heart, liver and kidneys were successfully transplanted into three
"It was a silver lining for us," Grugan's' mother, Eileen Grugan,
said. "Donating Charles' organs to others was the thing that kept our
family together and pulled us through this grief.
[continues 893 words]
Two community agencies on hand to lend support for initiative which is
expected to be paid for by province
The city has endorsed a supervised injection site for downtown
Hamilton but it's up to a community agency to step up to run such a
The city's board of health endorsed the findings of a long-awaited
study Monday that recommend adding at least one permanent site in the
core for people to safely inject illegal drugs under the watchful eye
of health professionals.
[continues 575 words]
Facing the reality that Hamilton needs at least one supervised
injection site is not pleasant.
In an ideal world, such a thing might not be needed. People with drug
addictions would get counselling and support to break their addiction.
Until then, they could ingest drugs in a safe and clean
But this isn't an ideal world. We're in a historic and growing
street-drug crisis. And those qualities - access to support and a safe
environment - are exactly what you get with a supervised injection
[continues 410 words]
Most pharmacies won't ask what needles are used for
Used needles or other sharps never have to be discarded in bottles,
garbage or public spaces because of the Safe Sharps Bring-Back Program.
The Pharmacy Association of Nova Scotia (PANS) administers the program
for residential sharps users. Although it is not intended for people
who use intravenous drugs, most pharmacies won't ask what the needles
are being used for.
"The whole idea is about harm reduction," said Hugh Toner, pharmacist
owner of both Medicine Shoppe stores in Sydney.
[continues 573 words]
Regularly imposed bail condition is an untenable method of punishment
and sets up marginalized people for failure
Imagine you have a serious medical condition requiring regular care.
You are charged with a minor offence, for which you are innocent until
proved guilty, and your first step into the justice system is to stand
before a judge who will determine whether you will be released on
bail. The judge says you are free to go, but as a condition of release
you are not to be within the 10 square-block area that constitutes the
downtown - even though your doctor, your pharmacy and your social
supports such as friends and family are all within that area. You have
been "red zoned" from your community.
[continues 835 words]
Does Trudeau back harm reduction or not, ask Sandra Ka Hon Chu and
Implementing needle and syringe programs in federal prisons could
prevent numerous new HIV and Hepatitis C virus infections each year,
saving tens of millions of dollars.
Five years ago, we started a constitutional court case, because it was
clear that, despite the evidence, the previous government would never
agree to implement these health services in federal prisons.
But the Trudeau government has repeatedly declared its commitment to
harm reduction and evidence-based policy, to Charter rights, and to
the health and welfare of vulnerable Canadians. Prison-based needle
and syringe programs reflect all of these.
[continues 585 words]
A pilot project was launched Tuesday to provide the first outdoor
after-hours needle disposable drop box, with the aim of curbing the
high rate of hepatitis C, locally.
The sharp disposal kiosk is located on the property of AIDS Support
Chatham-Kent at 67 Adelaide St. S. in Chatham, which has partnered
with the ChathamKent Public Health Unit to provide a safe place to
dispose of needles.
When looking at best practices of other communities where these types
of sharp disposal kiosks are available, it's a program that's been
tested, said Steve Pratt, harm reduction program manager with AIDS
[continues 284 words]