By: Anne-Marie Tobin, The Canadian Press
A dramatic drop in the number of new HIV infections in British Columbia shows that a treatment-as-prevention strategy is making a difference, says a leading AIDS investigator who is frustrated that other parts of the country haven't embraced the concept to the same extent.
"The truth is that there is no reason why we should be seeing a steady decrease in HIV new cases in British Columbia and we should not expect to see the same thing in the rest of the country," said Dr. Julio Montaner, director of the British Columbia Centre for Excellence in HIV-AIDS.
Saskatchewan, in particular, has been struggling with an incremental increase in new cases almost every year since 2004. Read more »
By: ROBERT MATAS, Globe and Mail
Vancouver Coastal Health is looking at offering supervised injection services for heroin addicts at several of its clinics.
Health officials are talking to potential partners in the medical community about a new way to provide the harm-reduction service, Chief Medical Officer Patricia Daly said Monday in an interview.
The health authority has no plans in place at this time, she said, but offering supervised injection services at several facilities is the direction the health authority wants to go. Read more »
BY DAN GARDNER, POSTMEDIA NEWS
The Gardner key to understanding Stephen Harper's federalism is heroin.
Got your attention? Good. The word "federalism" tends to put people to sleep, but this is important stuff so I'll try to sex it up. Hence, heroin.
There's lots of it in Vancouver's benighted downtown eastside, as there has been for decades. Law enforcement and social services tried everything they could think of to get rid of the drugs and the crime and the social blights. But things only got worse.
In the mid-1990s, HIV and hep C were epidemic and overdoses soared. In 1993 alone, 200 people died.
In desperation, city officials turned to an idea tried with considerable success in Europe. Insite opened its doors in 2003. Read more »
By: Andrew Hopkins, News 1130
VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) - There are still plenty of regulatory hurdles to clear, but plans are well underway for a second safe injection site in Vancouver.
The society operating the first site on East Hastings St. is already renting a space for the new facility.
Mark Townsend with the Portland Hotel Society says they have been renting a potential location near Victory Square for about two years. Efforts to make it a reality, however, stalled while a court battle was fought with Ottawa over operating the first site.
"We had to go all the way to the Supreme Court and get a unanimous decision in favour of Insite, and you know, opening a second one would not make sense in that kind of climate," says Townsend. Read more »
BY BARBARA YAFFE, VANCOUVER SUN
The Harper government spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in its unsuccessful legal battle against Vancouver's supervised injection site, according to newly released documents.
Between 2006 and 2011, the Conservatives spent $637,158 in a bid to shut down the Downtown Eastside clinic - funds that represented nearly 25 per cent of Insite's annual $3-million operating budget.
The clinic, opened in 2003, has long been a burr on the backside of a federal government that has fiercely resisted embracing the harm-reduction philosophy of the clinic.
The federal legal bill comes courtesy of a Justice Department reply to an access-toinformation request, submitted in October by The Vancouver Sun. Read more »
Abbotsford Mission Times
Brian Gross of the Fraser Valley Positive Living Society, says Abbotsford's antiharm reduction bylaw may be having the unintended consequence of increasing rates of HIV infection in the region.
"Abbotsford's harm reduction bylaw not only keeps proven life-saving material such as clean needles from those who need them, but (also) sends the messages to drug users that their lives aren't important," said Gross.
New Fraser Health figures show that HIV infection rates in the health authority's east region are up in both straight and gay populations. Straight transmission rates are up 13 per cent in 1996 to 42 per cent in 2007. Rates for gay men have nearly tripled to 32 per cent in 2007. Read more »
VANCOUVER– The Supreme Court of Canada’s decision to allow Insite to remain open is great news and a tremendous victory for the advocates and the community who fought to keep the facility, say the New Democrats.
“The Supreme Court affirmed that Insite saves lives,” said New Democrat MLA Jenny Kwan (Vancouver – Mount Pleasant). “That should be the first priority of the federal government, not some ideological crusade to show that they are tough on crime. Ideology should not trump science at the expense of people's lives. Read more »
BY EVAN DUGGAN, PETER O'NEIL AND BRADLEY BOUZANE, VANCOUVER SUN WITH POSTMEDIA NEWS
OTTAWA — The Harper government's attempt to shut down North America's only supervised-injection site for addicts was "arbitrary," threatened to undermine health and safety, and represented a violation of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled Friday.
The ruling, a unanimous decision, ordered an immediate exemption, with no deadline, allowing the facility to remain open.
It also could pave the way for similar sites to open in cities across Canada.
A large crowd cheered, hugged and sang in front of Insite on Hastings Street, immediately following the top court's decision. Read more »
BY PETER O'NEIL, VANCOUVER SUN
OTTAWA — The Supreme Court of Canada will announce Friday its landmark decision on Vancouver's supervised injection site for addicts.
The decision, being followed closely by media and health authorities both nationally and internationally, pits the right of the B.C. government to manage health care against the federal government's jurisdiction over the Criminal Code.
The decision will play a major role in determining whether similar facilities are established elsewhere in Canada, and interest has already been expressed to follow Insite's lead in provinces such as Alberta and Quebec.
"If you're successful here, there could be Insites all over the country," Supreme Court Judge Marshall Rothstein told an Insite lawyer during the May hearing. Read more »
By Andrea Klassen - Invermere Valley Echo
Needle disposal sites are coming to several Invermere public washrooms.
Interior Health and the District of Invermere will work together to install secure disposal sites for syringes in various spots around the community, which could include Kinsmen Beach and the Mount Nelson Athletic Park.
Public health nurses Crissy Stavrakov and Jeff Quinn were at district council September 12, and told councillors they've found used needles lying on the ground in public playgrounds and on hiking trails.
"We've also talked with pharmacists and they've been selling needles and not getting them back in the proper manner, or not getting them back at all," Quinn added. Read more »
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