OTTAWA, June 6, 2013 /CNW/ - The Canadian Nurses Association (CNA) is
questioning new rules for establishing supervised injections sites,
unveiled today by the federal government. Health Minister Leona
Aglukkaq tabled a bill in the House of Commons today that outlines
criteria for obtaining permission to open a supervised drug injection
site in Canada.
"Evidence demonstrates that supervised injection sites and other harm
reduction programs bring critical health and social services to
vulnerable populations — especially those experiencing poverty, mental
illness and homelessness," said CNA president Barb Mildon. "A
government truly committed to public health and safety would work to
enhance access to prevention and treatment services — instead of
building more barriers."
In a press release, Aglukkaq said that sites "for sanctioned use of
drugs obtained from illicit sources has the potential for great harm in
a community." CNA is concerned that conservative "tough on crime"
ideology will overshadow evidence that demonstrates positive outcomes
for communities with harm reduction programs. In Vancouver's Downtown
Eastside, where the Insite safe injection site is located, business
owners, service providers and residents in the neighbourhood agree that
the clinic has had a positive impact on the health of the people who
use it and on the health of the community.
"Community consultation and support are indeed necessary, especially
because harm reduction programs are meant to benefit a community and
promote the health and safety of its members," said Mildon. "We expect
more clarification from the government on what 'broad community
support' entails. We don't believe one dissenting voice should be able
to derail progress."
CNA, along with the Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario and the
Association of Registered Nurses of British Columbia, was an intervener
in the 2011 Supreme Court of Canada case that unanimously ruled in
favour of keeping open Vancouver's safe injection facility, Insite.
CNA is the national professional voice of registered nurses in Canada. A
federation of 11 provincial and territorial nursing associations and
colleges representing nearly 150,000 registered nurses, CNA advances
the practice and profession of nursing to improve health outcomes and
strengthen Canada's publicly funded, not-for-profit health system.
SOURCE: CANADIAN NURSES ASSOCIATION
For further information:
Kate Headley, External Communications Coordinator
Canadian Nurses Association
Telephone: 613-237-2159, ext. 561
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