OTTAWA, June 6, 2013 /CNW/ - Today in the House of Commons, Health
Minister Leona Aglukkaq introduced new legislation, Bill C-65, An act to amend the controlled drugs and substances act (Respect for
communities act). This legislation follows the 2011 ruling of the Supreme Court of
Canada that required the federal government to grant an exemption for
the Insite supervised injection site in Vancouver.
Supervised injection programs are an important harm reduction strategy.
Harm reduction is a central pillar in a comprehensive public health
approach to disease prevention and health promotion.
In a preliminary assessment based on initial review of the Bill, the CMA
is deeply concerned that the proposed legislation may be creating
unnecessary obstacles and burdens that could ultimately deter creation
of more injection sites.
The CMA had intervened before the Supreme Court to support Insite. The
unanimous decision was grounded in evidence, not ideology. The
overwhelming clinical evidence is that centres like Insite save lives
when it comes to some of our most vulnerable patient populations. In
its ruling, the Supreme Court stated that "… the evidence indicates that a supervised injection site will decrease
the risk of death and disease, and there is little or no evidence that
it will have a negative impact on public safety, the Minister should
generally grant an exemption." What we have seen today seems to contradict the essence of the
Bill C-65 places the onus completely on the applicant to fulfil
stakeholder, government and community consultation requirements.
The CMA fully endorses the existence of these harm-reduction tools,
including supervised injection sites, and believes they should be
included in a comprehensive national drug strategy. The CMA's position
is founded upon clinical evidence. Bill C-65, it would appear, is
founded upon ideology that seeks to hinder initiatives to mitigate the
very real challenges and great personal harm caused by drug abuse.
SOURCE: Canadian Medical Association
For further information:
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Tel.: 800-663-7336 / 613-731-8610 ext. 1266