UN Wants Canada to End Harm Reduction Programs
The United Nation’s International Narcotics Control Board issued its annual report this week saying that some harm-reduction programs in Canada violate international drug-control treaties and should be shut down.
The programs include ones that distribute crack smoking kits to slow the spread of blood-borne diseases like HIV between crack pipe users. They also include Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside safe-injection site, known as Insite, where addicts can use clean needles to inject their own coke and heroin under the supervision of a nurse.
They’re all part of Canada’s harm-reduction approach to drug abuse, and their supporters are outraged by the UN’s recommendation, especially in light of reports in medical journals that state the programs are influential in reducing the spread of disease.
Richard Pearshouse of the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network, said the UN’s report was “driven more by ideology and a war-on-drugs ideology than the research and the scientific evidence that supports these as a public-health intervention.”
Canadian Senator Larry Campbell, a former Vancouver mayor, told the press he would ‘personally block Insite’s doorway’ if officials make any effort to shut it down.
Date: Mar. 8, 2008