Toronto, ON – May 28, 2008 –
The Ontario Federation of Community Mental Health and Addiction Programs supports the decision by the B.C. Supreme Court recognizing addiction as a health issue that must be treated. It was stated by a B.C. Health Officer that “the ruling moves chronic addiction out of the area of law enforcement and back into health care, where it belongs”.
“It is time for addiction to come out of the shadows and be addressed like other health issues” said David Kelly, Executive Director of OFCMHAP. Canada’s drug trafficking and possession laws are unconstitutional when they are applied to addicts using a supervised-injection site. As explained by Judge Ian Pitfield, those laws, when applied to Insite, threaten a person’s constitutional right to life and security because “it denies the addict access to a health-care facility where the risk of morbidity associated with infectious disease is diminished, if not eliminated”.
"The ruling signals a crucial understanding of the need to provide a range of health care interventions and treatment options to individuals struggling with substance use issues” stated Norma Medulun, President of Addictions Ontario.
This case demonstrates that harm reduction in fact is successful. Vancouver’s supervised drug injection site is a needed service and gives individuals with addictions the right to have a normal life. B.C. Health Minister George Abbott said his government is pleased by the judgment. "We are strongly supportive of Insite as part of the continuum of mental health and addiction services in this province."
David Kelly Norma Medulun
Executive Director President
Ontario Federation of Community Addictions Ontario
Mental Health and Addiction Programs (905) 682-6411 ext. 63121
250 Consumers Rd Suite 806 Norma.firstname.lastname@example.org
416-490-8900 ext. 22