Via The Globe and Mail: British Columbia opens drug injection sites amid opioid crisis. Excerpt and then a comment:
British Columbia has opened several government-sanctioned drug-injection sites, without waiting for legislative changes or approval from Ottawa, to combat the province’s worst overdose crisis on record.
The move puts pressure on the federal government to amend Harper-era legislation posing barriers to opening new supervised drug-consumption sites and provides a possible blueprint for other provinces that have long asked for federal permission to open such sites with no response.
Three sites opened in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside on Thursday at existing social service sites. Victoria and Surrey will each open two next week, and more are planned for Vancouver and Victoria.
B.C.’s top health officials decline to call the locations “supervised injection sites,” opting instead for “overdose prevention sites.” Like Insite, Vancouver’s 13-year-old public supervised injection site, users bring their own drugs and are revived by staffers in the event of an overdose. Some facilities, if not all, will provide harm-reduction supplies such as clean needles.
The move comes as overdose deaths in B.C. reach a level not seen in more than 30 years of record-keeping. As of the end of October, 622 people had died of illicit drug overdoses, with the synthetic opioid fentanyl being detected in 60 per cent of them. Carfentanil – a large-animal tranquilizer many times more toxic than fentanyl – reached B.C. this fall and is suspected to be behind another recent surge in overdose deaths.
From 2000 to 2010, B.C. recorded an average of 273 illicit drug overdose deaths each year. The death toll for this year is expected to surpass 750.
Our provincial government, which calls itself Liberal but is actually severely right-wing, has been in power here since 2001, and until now has somehow found the strength to endure all those overdose deaths. This demonstrates the truth of the old saying: "To teach a donkey, first hit it between the eyes with a 2x4. This will get its attention."