Newsbrief: Canada Gives Go-Ahead to Safe Injection Sites, First to Open Early Next Year 11/15/02

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Health Canada will be ready to accept proposals from cities interested in establishing safe injection sites by the end of the year, a spokesperson told Canada Press on Saturday. The ministry is reviewing criteria for approval and has already determined that such facilities, where intravenous drug users can inject with medical care and social services on-site, will not contravene the country's Controlled Drugs and Substances Act.

The ministry is now in the midst of crafting guidelines, said Health Canada spokesperson Farah Mohamed. "We're in the process," she said. "The minister, by the end of this year, will be able to accept proposals from individual cities." It will take up to 60 days for Health Canada to review and approve each proposal, she said.

The move comes in response to mounting pressure to allow localities to act to deal with public health problems surrounding criminalized drug use. The Canadian Medical Association Journal published an article last year supporting safe injection sites, and the annual Big City Mayors Meeting in February unanimously passed a motion recommending scientific trials of safe injection sites in at least three or four cities. Two months later, the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network issued a report calling for the creation of trial sites. And Vancouver activists have been threatening to start their own if the government fails to act.

In addition to Vancouver, officials in Quebec, Montreal, Toronto, Regina, Winnipeg and Halifax have expressed interest in the sites.

One question that remains is whether the federal government will play a role in funding the sites. Le Devoir (Montreal) reported November 8 that Health Canada would not fund them, but Mohamed said no decision has been made. "There's been some people saying they think Health Canada should fund it, but we're not at that stage yet to even determine the amounts of money it would cost," she said.

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Issue #263, 11/15/02 The Week Online Needs Your Help! | Massachusetts: Marijuana on the Move? | Anaheim Conference Reinvigorates Battered Reformers -- Hundreds Gather to Examine Defeats, Plot New Strategies | Narco News Interview with Gustavo de Greiff | Newsbrief: This Week's Corrupt Cop Story | Newsbrief: FCC Says Anti-Drug Ads Must Identify White House Sponsorship | Newsbrief: San Diego Medical Marijuana Rally to Go Transnational | Newsbrief: Hungry Utah Cops Nibbling at Edges of Asset Forfeiture Reform Law, Lying Through Their Teeth as They Campaign | Newsbrief: Free Speech Battle in Tampa after Leafleting Arrest | Newsbrief: Canada Gives Go-Ahead to Safe Injection Sites, First to Open Early Next Year | Newsbrief: Pain Doctor Hurwitz Raided in Virginia | Newsbrief: Pain Doctor Weitzel Retrial Underway in Utah | Newsbrief: Arkansas Prisons Say Methamphetamine Penalties Should Be Lowered | Newsbrief: Border Patrol Begins Random Stops in Michigan | Web Scan: Washington Office on Latin America, Andean Information Network, Latin America Working Group, Miami Herald, Harry Levine | Harm Reduction Coalition Seeking Articles and Artwork for "The Anonymous Issue" | Action Alerts: Rave Bill, Medical Marijuana, Higher Education Act Drug Provision, Tulia, Salvia Divinorum | The Reformer's Calendar
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