To the Editor,
Re: Government funding supports addicts, Letters, Oct. 4.
After having participated in the federal Supreme Court Case for Insite in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside as a B.C. Nurses Union council member, I feel I need to respond to this dialogue (the ruling came down last week in our favour).
The BCNU has supported safe injection sites from the beginning. It may not look, upfront, like it’s beneficial and it may even look like its enabling but it’s not.
What it does is it stops the ambulance from being called because there are less overdoses, which in turns means that this individual is not adding to the already overcrowded ER situation (blocking a bed that you might need instead).
That’s the short-term, but in the long-term these people are being taught safe practices that will in turn affect their health long-term so they are not burdening the health care system with so many chronic diseases, creating added workload for our hospitals, our doctors and other programs.
They deserve dignity and care just like everyone else. If they are going to practise these behaviours, let’s help them to do it safely.
It doesn’t reduce the numbers of drug abusers, but they have access to counselling if they do want to rehab.
Lots of the counsellors in these places come from the streets and know intimately what these clientele are facing. And more people do come off of the drugs with this assistance than they do if left to the streets.
So reducing “free support” actually increases the tax payers’ burden in the short and long run.
Take a long-term global view rather than one that is short-sighted. Ask questions and be curious, there’s more information and support out there explaining this better than I do.