Ottawa gets a glimpse inside mock supervised injection site

Ottawa got an idea Monday of how a supervised injection site would work if one should be allowed to set up shop in the city.

There is currently only one supervised injection site in Canada — the Insite facility in Vancouver — but a mock injection site was setup on Murray St. in Lowertown.

The event was put on by the Drug Users Advocacy League (DUAL) and partners like Campaign for Safer Consumption Sites (CSCS) in Ottawa, who believe the creation of a supervised injection site would help curb the spread of HIV and Hepatitis C while at the same time reducing the risk of drug overdose.

A supervised site would also reduce the amount of dirty needles found on streets and get drug users away from shooting up on the street, according to CSCS.

Visitors to the open house on Monday heard from safe injection site proponents including Dr. Mark Tyndall from Study Participatory Research in Ottawa: Understanding Drugs (PROUD) and Rachel Bard, CEO of the Canadian Nurses Association.

In addition to the experts, the large crowd heard from those directly impacted by drug use, including residents of Lowertown and Donna May, who lost a child to a drug overdose.

According to CSCS Ottawa, 11% of Ottawa IV drug users are HIV positive, while 60% of them have hepatitis C. In 2011, 36 people died from drug overdoses in the city.

The Sandy Hill Community Health Centre wants an exemption from drug laws to set up a injection site ahead of a federal bill that would put up new roadblocks.

By Chris Hofley
Source: Ottawa Sun