March 14, 2015

Harper government takes aim at supervised injection sites

Harper government takes aim at supervised injection sites

The federal government has passed legislation which might make it more difficult for health workers to help drug addicts.

The controversial Bill C-2 has now been passed by the House of Commons.

Known as the Respect for Communities Act, the new law jeopardizes plans to open more supervised injection clinics like Vancouver’s ground-breaking InSite.

Donald McPherson with the Canadian Drug Policy Coalition says this kind of treatment makes economic sense.

“If someone has an overdose out on the street, an ambulance takes them to an emergency ward. Just the reduction in ambulance calls alone would pay for a number of these facilities across the country.”

McPherson says Bill C-2 makes it nearly impossible for more supervised injection sites to open.

“Given the evidence and the need for these kinds of services, the application process will be harder, more lives will be lost because things will take longer to implement.”

MacPherson says the legislation could throw a monkey wrench into the plans of health authorities looking to help addicts.

“Vancouver Coastal Health recently announced additional injection sites are a part of their longer term plans. It’s not over until it’s over. If you look at the rise in overdose deaths, you would think government would want to use every tool at its disposal to stem those growing numbers.”

In 2011, Canada’s highest court upheld the legality of InSite, so McPherson doesn’t think the existing facility is in danger of being shut down.

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