RE: Safe injection sites
This letter is in reply to the one that Mr. Tokarchik wrote to the paper in defense of “safe injection sites”. I cannot agree with what he thinks and must come out “against” such an idea.
We would agree that the aims should be “harm reduction”. We can help people reduce harm by having people move away from injecting drugs to the much safer oral therapy in the interim and then further treatment to get off illicit drugs. You may know that injections are fraught with many complications (body hygiene at injection site, blood vessel issues, epidemiological issues from sharing needles etc.). We need to help people move away from that in order to reduce the harm to them and us. But safe injection sites move people in the opposite direction! Such sites do nothing to deter illicit drug abuse or refer people away from it!
I also have worked with addicts starting in the 1980s and am not unfamiliar with the issues at hand. Mr. Tokarchik would know the term “enabling” and how it plays in here. Enabling minimizes the consequences of addition and the responsibilities of the addict. This is another reason that I must disagree with him. We do not want to facilitate this activity in any way.
Setting up such places in no way guarantees that people will come. I have seen such sites set up in some cities and see people in the neighbourhood still injecting in the alley.
On the humanitarian note, I must say that this does not “improve the welfare of people” or in any way advance humanity. Misquoting the Sermon on the Mount does not do anything to support his position!
If I truly love the addict as Jesus commanded, I would want to help him see the very best available to him and to help him to reduce the harm that he does to himself. If I love the addict, I will have to stand and oppose the safe injection idea. That is why I must say that Prince Albert does not need this site and those in leadership should abandon thinking about it!
Jim Pattison B.Sc, CNA, C.Ped (C ), Alberta