I blog about environmental and social justice issues because I am very concerned about the health of the interdependent web of life of which we are a part.

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Tuesday, May 10, 2011

We're Going to Court

More accurately, the BC provincial government is going to face off with the Canadian federal government. The federal government wnats to shut down the safe drug injection site on the DowntownEasatside  - Insite.

Located in the heart of Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, the Insite facility has a dozen cubicles where approximately 800 addicts per day come to inject themselves. The addicts arrive with their own drugs, unimpeded by the police, who have agreed to give them safe passage in and out of the clinic. http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/british-columbia/bc-ottawa-head-to-top-court-over-supervised-injection-site/article2016011/
But Insite works !  Not only does it save the lives of injection drug users, it provides addictions counselling and referrals to detox.
Marjorie Brown, the legal counsel representing the BCNU at the Supreme Court, noted Insite users are 30 percent more likely to access treatment than drug users who do not use the facility.
And Insite prevents HIV infections.  In fact,
A report released by B.C.'s chief medical officer in March recommended that efforts to prevent HIV infection among injection drug users, such as supervised injection services, be expanded. http://www.straight.com/article-391894/vancouver/bc-nurses-argue-support-insite-supreme-court
So Insite prevents deaths from drug overdoses,, helps prevent the transmission of HIV (and subsequent cases of AIDS,) and provides referrals to detox.  Why does Mr Harper's government want it shut down?
...federal prosecutors insist that the Supreme Court must not let provinces meddle with federal criminal law powers by creating a legal oasis for people who voluntarily consume drugs.
In other words, saving lives is much less important than ensuring that the federal government's jurisdiction over criminal legislation is upheld.

Addiction is an illness - not a moral failing. Laws are made for people - and both they and a government's area of jusidiction can be changed . Let`s hope the Supreme Court sides with the province of BC in this case.
Five former mayors of Vancouver, plus current Mayor Gregor Robertson, have united in a heartfelt call to the Conservative government to end its strong opposition to the city’s Insite facility, North America’s only supervised injection site.  “Since opening in 2003, Insite has proven – beyond a doubt – its worth to our community,” says their open letter, signed by former mayors Sam Sullivan, Larry Campbell, Philip Owen, Mike Harcourt and Art Phillips.

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