Tuesday, May 06, 2008

A Back Alley Is Not A Safe Injection Site

Insite, Vancouver's Supervised Injection Site, is fighting for its existence. Its current exemption under Section 56 of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act expires on June 30th of this year. Simon Fraser University criminologist Neil Boyd was hired by the Harper Tories to study InSite and addressed the Ottawa Press Gallery this week.

"There is no doubt that InSite has made a positive impact for the individuals who use InSite, the residents, service providers and business operators in the neighbourhood, and for the greater public health of the community," said Professor Boyd.

The Vancouver Sun had a very strongly-worded editorial on the matter last week. Even some Christians have found the philosophy of harm reduction to be preferable to Prime Minister Harper's claim that "if you remain an addict, I don't care how much harm you reduce,you're going to have a short and miserable life." Some people, to my embarrassment even some from Saskatchewan, still don't get it, arguing that "the risk of contracting a deadly disease" is "it's [sic] own deterrent or 'harm reduction' strategy."

I hate to read too much into that, but that seems like a rather callous way to talk about sons and daughters, mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, and friends. Intimating that people deserve to contract a deadly disease as some sort moral punishment from on high seems a little, I dunno, anti-Canadian or something. I mean, that's like saying all those American folks who got sub-prime mortgages deserve to be homeless now. Or that people who like bacon deserve to have heart attacks.

Get informed, and let Stephen Harper know that a drug addiction shouldn't be a death sentence.

This public service announcement is accompanied today by some tunes the swell Chicago band the Prairie Spies. They've got a new album coming out this summer called Surplus Enjoyment, which, not-so-coincidentally, is what you'll have after you listen to their songs!

mp3: "Vigilante" by the Prairie Spies
mp3: "Who's Been Gettin' High" by the Prairie Spies

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