It has been a tough decision, one I've been wrestling with since speaking with the Lakeridge Health Director of Mental Health and Addictions almost a week ago. I know he has accomplished some remarkable work at Lakeridge Health and commend his effort and dedication.
In fact, I was feeling quite sure, when speaking with him, that his proposal for a CTS was the pathway to follow.
But that was at first, and with my heart. With my head, as an elected representative, I believe my responsibility is to arrive at a rational decision that best serves the public interest of the citizens of Oshawa.
It is more complex than saying safe injection sites save lives, period. The seemingly comforting claims that there has not been a death in a safe injection site does not mean drug users who frequent a safe injection site haven’t died outside, or around the corner from one. Stats have not been methodically tracked. Deaths by drug overdose continue to rise in cities with safe injection sites and the number of drug users rises exponentially every year.
Yes, an overdose death is averted when naloxone can be immediately administered by a nurse. And yes, with clean needles the spread of AIDS and Hepatitis is reduced. And yes, we need to do more to help with the opiate crisis. But a community welcome centre with supervised injection of illicit drugs and free supplies and counselling for users, although a solution advocated by so many, is tellingly not reducing addiction. It might make people think something is being done to help users overcome their addiction, but it is a panacea. The road to recovery is with treatment and rehab.
PLEASE GIVE ATTENTION TO THE FOLLOWING:
1. Once an Oshawa CTS is set up, there will be no reversing the decision. Vancouver has demonstrated this is what happens. When the Federal government tried to shut it down, they couldn't. So obviously there is no way a lower tier municipality like Oshawa stands a chance should a majority of our long time, law-abiding and dedicated Oshawa citizens find its impact grim and detrimental to their city.
2. Last year Oshawa Council requested the Region of Durham have a public consultation on the Safe Injection Site issue, involving Durham Region Police and other organizations. This should take place BEFORE Oshawa Council votes on this issue.
3. The extremely narrow definition of ‘harm reduction’ amounts to a philosophy that fails to address to the harm that is caused, not only to the community where a safe injection site facility is located (which will become by necessity a police “no-go” area), but more importantly, it fails to address the harm to the illicit drug user, by ignoring the root of the harm, the addiction.
4. Illicit drug use absolutely needs to be addressed, with an extensive outreach program and intensive counselling to truly help the drug users overcome their addiction. It is the addiction that is the greatest harm to the user.
TO BE WELL INFORMED PLEASE WATCH THIS VIDEO ABOUT VANCOUVER’S SAFE INJECTION SITE www.youtube.com/watch?v=YMglr-pgTkM&fbclid=IwAR1RCLIrHDD1umBQaeW1dqIWcu9XNi-YDcX1OzKd9FUyUHv-vXLdP0sx1pM