HTTP/1.0 200 OK Content-Type: text/html CHR Eyes Medicinal Pot 'Room'
Pubdate: Sun, 06 Jan 2002
Source: Calgary Sun, The (CN AB)
Copyright: 2002 The Calgary Sun
Author: Michael Wood
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Medicinal - Canada)


Patients Need Place To Smoke

The city's health authority is drafting procedural plans that will allow 
patients to smoke marijuana while in their care, officials have told the Sun.

As the Canadian government readies its first batch of medicinal marijuana 
for transport, officials at the Calgary Health Region are devising strategy 
to deal with requests by patients wanting to use marijuana while on 
hospital property, by providing "a safe and private place" for users to smoke.

"It would be appropriate to recognize ... that we have to look at all 
options for the use of marijuana in our hospitals," CHR communications 
adviser Brenda Barootes told the Sun.

In its infant stage and subject to approval by a medical advisory board, 
the pot project could see patients legally allowed to smoke marijuana 
"in-house" as officials also work to hammer-out plans that would ensure "a 
continuity of supply for the patients," Barootes said.

When asked if that could include hospitals bringing in marijuana for 
patient use, Barootes replied, "Theoretically, yes.

"That will be one of the things we look at."

A key issue facing hospital chiefs will be setting aside space for medical 
marijuana users away from other, less herbally-inclined patients and staff, 
as well as ensuring correct administration of the drug to card-carrying users.

"As with any other drug being used, we have to ensure that it's being used 
appropriately, that the patient is legally authorized to do so, and we 
would need to be sure we're providing a safe and private place for use -- 
safe from impact to other patients and staff," Barootes said, adding there 
have been no such requests by patients at any CHR facility to date.

While Barootes would not speculate a timeline on drawing up hospital 
protocol, nor what it may include, one scenario would see users smoke in a 
secured and ventilated room, as was the case at San Francisco General Hospital.

That facility was the stage of recent marijuana trials studying the effects 
of weed on AIDS patients and its interaction with other medicines.

"We had a general clinical research centre room set up with an exhaust fan 
to the outside," said Dr. Donald Abrams, who spearheaded the research.

The marijuana, 1,400 cigarettes in all, was kept separate from other 
medicines in a freezer under lock and key.
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