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Conservative government threatens community health and safety with Bill C-65

Our friends at AIDS Action Now! posted a powerful response to the announcement by Minister Aglukkaq of new rules being proposed by the government to restrict the opening of supervised consumption sites in Canada:

In 2011, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that the Minster of Health Leona Aglukkaq actively violated the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms by trying to shut down Vancouver’s supervised consumption service Insite. Despite this ruling, the Minster is at it again. Today Aglukkaq launched Bill C-65 known as the “Respect for Communities Act”. Despite the semantic public relations games being played with its name, the act itself does nothing but attack, degrade and violate our communities. “We desperately need these life-saving services, but Bill C-65 is aimed at making it more difficult for the opening of supervised consumption services that support the health and human rights of people who use drugs” said Zoe Dodd of the Toronto Drug Users Union.

(Read the full post here.)

CSCS stands in solidarity with AIDS Action Now, the Drug Users Advocacy League, the Toronto Drug Users Union, Pivot Legal Society, the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network, the Canadian Drug Policy Coalition, the Canadian Harm Reduction Network, the Canadian Nurses Association, the Canadian Medical Association, and many other groups and individuals across Canada who oppose the Conservative government's attempt to impede access to vital health care services for substance users.

In 2011, the Supreme Court ruled with respect to Insite that "Where, as here, 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.” Bill C-65 flies in the face of that ruling, imposing many obstacles to the creation of supervised consumption sites. With its Bill, the Conservative government is endangering the lives of thousands of people in what amounts to an attack on the health and human rights of people who use drugs throughout Canada.

Now, more than ever, our campaign needs your voice. Sign our petition in support of supervised consumption sites in Ottawa, and share it with your friends.

Let's show the government that Canadians stand behind these life-saving health facilities.

P.S. - The Canadian Nurses Association has created a petition urging the Health Minister to improve access to health & treatment services for people who use drugs, instead of creating more barriers. Please sign and share!

CSCS supports Pivot Legal Society's report on Bill C-10

The Campaign for Safer Consumption Sites is a group of community members who advocate for the opening of supervised sites in Ottawa for people who use drugs. We strongly support the work of Pivot and the findings of their report, Throwing Away the Keys.

Mandatory minimum sentences are harmful to low income people with problematic substance use issues in Ottawa, and across the country.

The consequences of longer and more frequent imprisonment are a threat to the health and well-being of people with drug addictions. Loss of housing, reduced employment opportunities, and separation from the support of family and friends only serves to push people to the margins of our society. These destabilizing effects are severe challenges to overcoming addiction.

Throwing away the keys: the human and social cost of mandatory minimum sentences

Lawyers from Pivot Legal Society are holding a press conference in Ottawa on May 30th to launch their new report, Throwing Away The Keys: The human and social cost of mandatory minimum sentences.

This report is based on interviews with drug users about their involvement within the criminal justice system, and assesses the potential impacts of new mandatory minimum sentences on low-income drug users.

Supervised drug consumption sites required in Ottawa, advocates say

Check out this must-watch report on the need for safer drug consumption sites in Ottawa, featuring Rick Sproule and Sean Leblanc of the Drug Users Advocacy League, Dr. Mark Tyndall, and Rob Boyd of Sandy Hill CHC. Keep an eye out for one of our CSCS stickers, too!

This video was created by Carleton University journalism students. Great work!

A discussion of community-based harm reduction

On Thursday, Feb 28, join University of Ottawa Health Services for an evening of discussion about community-based harm reduction in Ottawa at Cafe Alt from 6:30-8:30pm. With special guests:
• Wendy Muckle, Executive Director of Ottawa Inner City Health (OICH)
• Sean LeBlanc, Chair of the Drug User’s Advocacy League (DUAL)

R.S.V.P. on Facebook

UOHS welcomes students and the community to join in this informative and engaging discussion. This presentation will be especially relevant to students in the fields of health, allied health, medicine and social work.

Talking harm reduction at Ottawa's Winterlude

This past weekend, CSCS volunteers took to Winterlude to talk with people about supervised consumption sites & collect signatures on our petition to the provincial health minister. We had great conversations about harm reduction and received lots of positive feedback from Ottawans and tourists alike. There's no doubt that supervised consumption sites are a health service that people are ready to support in our community.

Thank you so much to our amazing volunteers! With your help, we're now at well over 1000 signatures on our paper petition, which we'll be submitting to the provincial legislature later in the year.

The Insite decision and the case for supervised consumption facilities in Ottawa

Professor Suzanne Bouclin of the Ottawa University Faculty of Law and Priyanka Vittal, a law student & CSCS volunteer, have co-authored a paper on the 2011 Supreme Court decision in favour of Insite remaining open, and what the decision means for the possibility of similar sites opening in Ottawa. The article is available in the December issue of the Canadian Journal of Poverty Law, and offers a valuable analysis of the legal aspects of this issue.

On September 29, 2011, the Supreme Court of Canada unanimously ruled to allow a safer supervised consumption facility (SCF) to remain open under a section 56 exemption of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. The decision has lent additional legitimacy to SCFs as a necessary health care service that is part of a comprehensive and holistic drug and addiction strategy. In part one of this comment, we describe the context in which Insite emerged in Vancouver, British Columbia. In part two, we discuss the legal mobilization that led to the Supreme Court decision and the framework under which Insite currently operates. In part three, we explore the decision’s implications for another jurisdiction – Ottawa, Ontario.

Read the full article here (PDF)

Insite - Not just injecting, but connecting

This video about Insite, created by the Hungarian Civil Liberties Union, is an amazing look at the program, the people, and the vital place it holds in the community. Supervised consumption sites are about so much more than using drugs - they're also about compassionate health care, forming respectful connections with people, and providing help when it's needed.

Breaking the Taboo - Thanks for joining us!

Thank you to everyone who made it out to our movie night tonight! A big thanks to Gilles from DUAL for sharing his experience, to Chris for answering questions about the campaign, and to OPIRG for co-hosting the event.

You can sign on to the Break the Taboo campaign's call to world leaders to end the war on drugs and move towards a system based on decriminalisation, regulation, public health and education at breakingthetaboo.com.

Check out the Drug Users Advocacy League online at dualottawa.ca, and don't forget to like them on Facebook!

Breaking the Taboo

Join us on Thursday, Jan. 17 at 7pm at the Arts Court Theatre, as we present Breaking the Taboo as part of OPIRG's Resistance on Reels Film Festival!

Breaking the Taboo - January 17

A documentary on the failed war on drugs across the globe, Breaking the Taboo sheds light on realities of the drug war industry from the first hand experiences ranging from former offenders to former presidents. This documentary is a call to action for our leaders to improve drug policies to include decriminalization, regulation, public health and education. What will it take to end the war on drugs?

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