Health Minister gives guidance on safe injection site for Victoria
The plan to open a safe injection site for Victoria drug users looks like it’s one step closer to becoming a reality.
A letter addressed to Mayor Lisa Helps from Federal Health Minister Jane Philpott affirms that Ottawa is open to the idea.
It also includes a form for the city to apply for an exemption for medical purposes under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act.
“As Minister of Health, I continually look for ways to keep Canadians healthy and reduce risks and harms to them,” Philpott wrote.
“For this reason, the Government’s approach to supervised consumption sites will be guided by evidence, which in this case is clear—when properly established and managed, supervised consumption sites can save lives and improve health without increasing drug use and crime in the surrounding area.”
Philpott also encouraged the city to get in touch with safe injection sites currently operating, including Insite and the Dr. Peter Centre in Vancouver.
Addiction experts say overdose deaths can be prevented with supervised consumption sites, and that the South Island’s drug-using community has been asking for one.
The Victoria group Yes to Supervised Injection Sites has been pushing for a site for years
In 2007, the city wanted to open three facilities, but the then-Conservative government stymied their attempts.
Their efforts were hampered the passing of the Respect for Communities Act last June.
Critics say the bill introduced dozens of new hoops to jump through before a supervised site can even be considered, despite a Supreme Court of Canada ruling in 2011 that ordered the government to exempt Insite, Vancouver’s safe injection clinic, from prosecution under federal law.