There is a movement to have Canada’s 2nd safe injection site placed in the Nation’s Capital. The question that is bouncing around my head is, who does the safe injection site protect; the public, the user, or the dealer? I understand the benefits of a program, but have greater concerns about the safety of the community and the residents in the community where the program would be situated. A safe injection site does not address the need of the user to reduce and eliminate their dependence of these drugs.
The Vancouver safe injection site has been in operation for 10 years, and in that period of time neither of Canada’s cities larger than Ottawa has opened a safe injection site. Has anyone asked why?
The Ottawa Police have stated their objections to the Vancouver Insite model being installed in the Ottawa’s Byward Market, or in the City in general. We need to rethink how we help those that are using illegal substances and to eliminate the dealing and selling of the illegal substances that a safe site encourages use of.
The City of Ottawa has undertaken a 10 year plan to address homelessness and provide housing to almost 10,000 people on a waiting list. This initiative along with combined efforts from Ottawa Police Services, Local Health Agencies and Provincial and Federal Governments can create a treatment and education climate to help addicts and remove dealers and crime from our downtown streets and neighbourhoods.
Butting heads and shouting matches will not resolve this issue, it only serves to divide our communities and continue to place our vulnerable in harm’s way.
I encourage our community leaders to work together and not against each other – nobody wins.