Safe Injection Sites in Vancouver
With Fentanyl overdose deaths on the rise, we are becoming more and more cautious of the drug usage around us. In this state of caution, British Columbia health officials are contemplating offering safe injection services.
Similar to the clean needle program, these services would be provided in clinics that currently assist those with addictions. Though it may sound counter-intuitive, having a safe space for people to carry out their drug use is extremely helpful whereas if they did not have this service, they might use dirty needles in unhygienic conditions, potentially causing more harm.
“We just see that offering supervised-injection services is a more viable way to prevent some of the harm that’s being caused right now.” says Dr. Mark Lysyshyn of Vancouver Coastal Health
He continues, “There’s been a lot of interest in Canada in harm reduction and a belief that it’s been the right thing to do for people and that it saves lives, but we haven’t been able to move on that in the past 10 years.” Dr. Lysyshyn is referring to the Dr. Peter Centre, an HIV-AIDS clinic. Since 2002, they have offered supervised injections along with some other services.
On the other end of the spectrum, this could also incent people who begin using drugs, who have never used them before. This is something to be considered when opening up new injection sites.
The provincial government has largely played a part, with the Conservatives highly against the supervised injection site. This consequently brought in legislation that makes it more difficult to open up new sites. It is speculated that the Liberals might repeal this legislation, but it is too soon to say, says Sean Upton, Health Canada Spokesman. “The government of Canada is committed to following an evidence-based approach to assessing applications for supervised consumption sites and to assessing applications under the existing legal framework without undue hindrance or delay.”