It's a question of respect - speak out against Bill C-2

Add your voice to the many others that are speaking out against Bill C-2 — a bill that will make it harder, if not impossible, for communities to provide needed health services including supervised consumption services. Please share this important video with your friends and family.

Get informed, sign the petition, and contact your MP. Don't let silence speak for you.

Visit the website: respectcommunities.ca

Evidence not Ideology: A discussion of harm reduction in Ottawa

Evidence not Ideology: A discussion on harm reduction, March 14 2014

Heard of harm reduction? Want to learn more? On March 14 at Carleton University, join us for a discussion about harm reduction & community health in Ottawa.

NOTE: The event has been moved to Uni Centre room 180.

Presented by the School of Social Work's Social Justice Committee, this event will feature expert speakers sharing their stories and answering your questions and concerns:

  • Christine, Participatory Research in Ottawa: Understanding Drug Use
  • Karen White-Jones, Carleton School of Social Work Faculty & Manager of Addictions Services at The Ottawa Mission
  • Luc Cormier, RN with the Oasis Program at Sandy Hill Community Health Centre
  • Sean LeBlanc, Drug Users Advocacy League

Members of the Campaign for Safer Consumption Sites in Ottawa will be present as well, sharing their advocacy work and ways of getting involved.

Spread the word, and we hope to see you all there!

RSVP on Facebook

Canada’s drug policy is in with the wrong crowd

The world’s nations have begun talks ahead of the United Nations General Assembly Special Session on Drugs in 2016. This is a time of increasing high-level calls for drug policy reform and a sense that policies long dominated by prohibition and law enforcement in many parts of the world have failed miserably. Countries may be better served with a public health policy approach instead.

Canada has long been a world leader in implementing harm reduction policy when it comes to drug use at home.

So it was almost shocking to see it aligning itself to countries such as Russia and China in vocally opposing the inclusion of “harm reduction” in a new a new set of UN principles that will guide talks at the special session in 2016.

Safe injection: Saving lives or ignoring addiction?

The crumpled figure in the picture is face down on the tiled bathroom floor. His legs are curled underneath him as though he toppled over from a kneeling or sitting position. The bathroom is clean but for wrappers and a tourniquet scattered over the closed lid of the toilet. A used needle lies on the floor behind the unconscious man.

“This picture was taken at Pizza Pizza, downtown,” says Sean Leblanc.

Get the facts: No such thing as a "no-go zone"

Recently, there's been a lot of discussion about supervised consumption sites in Ottawa. It's important to separate the FACTS from the MYTHS.

FACT: IF A SUPERVISED CONSUMPTION SITE OPENED IN OTTAWA, POLICE WOULD RETAIN FULL POWERS TO ENFORCE ALL LAWS THROUGHOUT THE COMMUNITY.

Only the inside of the supervised consumption site itself would be exempt from drug possession laws. 

Ottawa Police Superintendent Tyrus Cameron dismissed the myth of restricted police enforcement around a potential supervised consumption site during a Lowertown Community Association meeting:

“There is no such thing as a 'No-go zone'. The Ottawa Police will enforce the Criminal Code everywhere in Ottawa. The community expects us to, so we will.” - Superintendent Cameron, Ottawa Police, Oct. 21 2013

In an article published by the Ottawa Sun, Inspector Scott Thompson of the Vancouver Police Department spoke about policing policy around Insite, Vancouver's supervised injection site:

There is no 'bubble zone'. The force “recommended” that officers direct users found injecting within a four-block radius to Insite to avoid future brushes with the law but they had “full discretion” to lay charges and seize drugs. - Ottawa Sun Interview with Insp. Thompson, VPD, Sept. 28 2013

The evidence from Insite in Vancouver – and from over 90 such sites around the world – shows that supervised consumption sites encourage cleaner, safer streets by helping to reduce public drug use and drug equipment litter. They're also proven to reduce the spread of diseases such as HIV, prevent overdose deaths, and improve access to addiction treatment programs.

Drug Consumption Rooms: What the residents say

CSCS members have had hundreds of conversations with people in Ottawa just like these interviews with residents of Birmingham in the UK.

Letter from MP Hedy Fry regarding safer injection sites

Hedy Fry, MP for Vancouver Centre and Liberal Health Critic, sent this response to our letter calling on the health minister to take action to support the health of people who use drugs. Thank you Hedy for opposing the Conservative government's attempt to undermine the Supreme Court and hinder the creation of services like Insite in cities across Canada. People who live in Vancouver know how important Insite is to the health and safety of their community!

Thank you for your letter concerning Bill C-65, an Act to Amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, now Bill C-2. The first act of the Conservative government in this session was to reintroduce the “Respect for Communities Act”, which should be more appropriately named the “banning of safe injection sites bill” because of its negative impact on accessing safe injection sites for some of Canada’s most vulnerable citizens.. The Conservative government is acting on ideology rather than evidence.

The Bill exceeds the 2011 Supreme Court of Canada ruling regarding InSite, going well beyond the factors to be considered when granting an exemption of S.56 of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. Bill C-2 raises the criteria to establish a supervised injection site to such an extraordinarily high level that it would be nearly impossible for any future supervised consumption sites to be established in Canada. The Supreme Court ruling, keeping InSite open, was based on proof that InSite saved lives, citing Section 7 of the Charter of Rights and Freedom:, “life, liberty and security of the person”.

Furthermore, only an hour after the legislation was initially introduced, Conservative campaign director Jenni Byrne issued a crass and misleading fundraising letter to supporters stating that the Liberals and NDP want addicts to shoot up heroin in the backyards of communities all across the country. From this, it is clear that the intention of the Conservative government is to fundraise on the backs of some of the most vulnerable people in Canada, those with addictions and mental illness. Addiction is a disease that must be addressed primarily by clinical and public health guidelines.

As a physician, I support evidence-based policies that reduce harm, promote public health and protect public safety. I believe that supervised consumption sites form an integral component of such policies.

Community forum on supervised injection sites in Lowertown

There will be a public forum to discuss supervised injection sites at the next Lowertown Community Association meeting on Monday, October 21, 7pm at the Routhier Community Center.

Speakers will include Sean LeBlanc from the Drug Users Advocacy League, Dr. Mark Tyndall from the Ottawa Hospital, and Matt Skof of the Ottawa Police Association.

Come on out to discuss community health in our neighbourhood, and to make your voice heard in support of safer consumption sites in Ottawa!

Opinion survey confirms support for supervised consumption site in Ottawa

On online survey conducted by the Ottawa Sun has found that a majority of respondents believe that Ottawa should have a supervised injection site for people who use drugs.

The survey, which was published on the daily newspaper's website from September 30 to October 5, 2013, posed 9 questions on readers' opinions toward supervised injection services and their effects on the community.

Of the 1,794 people who responded, 56% indicated that Ottawa should open a site, while 51% said that they would accept a site in their own neighbourhood. 58% said that they believed such a site would either not impact or increase the safety and well-being of the surrounding area. (Full results here.)

Donna May advocates for supervised injection in Ottawa

Donna May shared the moving story of her daughter Jac's struggle with drug addiction, and the belief that a supervised injection site could have saved her life, at the 9/30 event in Ottawa last week.

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