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Friday, 13 April 2012

Supervised Drug Consumption Sites - Toronto and Ottawa sitting in dark ages

Canada is blessed with Andre Picard.  He is Canada's only public health reporter and for those who don't follow the Globe and Mail column, it is highly recommended of what might be considered an antiquated form of blogging. His contributions are insightful and to be respected.  Mr. Picard has received citations as the inaugural national Public Health hero in 2005 from CPHA, and commendations from the Public Health Physicians of Canada (formally NSSCM) amongst others.  Andre Picard at the Globe and Mail

A recent posting deserves the attention the public health community. While much has been written on this site relative to supervised drug consumption  insights into INsite  Supreme court decision  , the next phase of the debate is initiating and implementation in Montreal, Toronto and Ottawa.   As BC demonstrates reduction in HIV transmission that have not been shared across the country you might think that policy makers would ask the question "Why" and what is different.

The April 11th Globe and Mail posting on the debates in Ottawa and Toronto are disheartening.  Ottawa has  backed away from many basic harm reduction activities under the current local government and now has one of the highest HIV and Hep C transmission/incidence rates in the country - duh?  Who is kidding who? Why would any local government want to have such a tarnished reputation. It will likely take the son or daughter of a politician that contracts one of these illnesses at a young age because of an inability to access harm reduction equipment before the urgency and crisis becomes reality. SIS Ottawa and Toronto.

Read also the study which recommended implemenation at http://www.scribd.com/doc/88882905/TOSCA-Report-Short-Version-2

In the more enlightened environment just to the east of Ontario, Quebec is supposedly more actively pursuing appropriate services for drug users which may include supervised drug consumption.   

Our society has effectively ensured that someone who knowingly infects another with HIV is subjected to the full force of the law.   Hence politicians who knowingly make decisions that result in infections of others with HIV should be considered accountable under the same laws. The supreme court decision actually references supervised injection sites as "been proven to save lives with no discernable negative impact on the public safety and health objectives of Canada."  

The other piece of good news, is that at least the issue is being discussed and acted upon in Canada and was discussed in what is one of the top 10 viewed postings.  HIV in Canada  .  Our colleagues to the south face a tsunami of  impacts from benign neglect.  

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