New rules imposed on drug-injection sites

OTTAWA — The federal government has introduced tough new rules for supervised drug injection sites, in a move some see as an effort to deter such facilities.

OTTAWA — The federal government has introduced tough new rules for supervised drug injection sites, in a move some see as an effort to deter such facilities.

The government says it’s a response to a Supreme Court of Canada ruling that ordered the Conservatives to keep a Vancouver clinic open against their will.

But NDP health critic Libby Davies said the government is effectively blocking any chance of setting up a new clinic.

The new legislation would require advocates of new clinics to meet two dozen specific criteria before they can apply to open a new clinic. Among other things, they would have to canvass community opinion and gain the support of provincial and municipal authorities.

The health minister would then make the final decision.

As Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq tabled her bill on Thursday, she made it clear which way she will lean.

“Our government believes that a site involving the use of illicit substances should be strictly controlled to protect everyone in the community,” she told reporters.

“Accordingly, we believe that the application process needs to be changed to create formal opportunities for local voices to be heard and their views considered before an exemption would be considered.”

The Conservative Party immediately followed up with a plea to party supporters to sign a petition to “keep heroin out of our backyards.”

In a note attached to the petition, Conservative Party operations director Jenni Byrne says, “special interests are trying to open up these supervised drug consumption sites in cities and towns across Canada — over the objections of local residents and law enforcement.

“We’ve had enough — that’s why I am pleased the Harper government is acting to put the safety of our communities first.”

The 2011 court ruling has kept the Vancouver InSite clinic open, but the new rules will make it more difficult for it to stay open and for supporters to open clinics in other cities.

InSite advocates say the clinic’s presence has reduced fatal overdoses and connected drug addicts with the social services they need to improve their health. But no other city has yet set up a similar injection site.

Until now, such clinics required an exemption under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act to operate.

The new rules add an additional set of requirements focused on getting input from local and provincial authorities.

Applicants must include letters from provincial ministers, local government, local police forces and provincial health authorities, as well as proof of consultation with doctors, nurses and a broad range of community groups.

They will need to show they are financially sustainable. And they will have to provide scientific evidence of medical benefits that would come from setting up a safe injection site.

Applicants will also have to predict impacts on public safety and set up procedures to mitigate the risk of harm to health, safety and security.

And they must take into account other drug treatment services available.

The Vancouver facility, if it wants to stay open, would have to meet all the new requirements and show how the site has already affected neighbourhood crime rates and individual and public health.

A spokeswoman for InSite said there was no official comment on the legislation yet, but she pointed out that the facility already meets provincial requirements for public consultation and community engagement. The facility has federal permission to stay open until March 2014, when it must apply to Ottawa again.

Just Posted

‘We feel for those children’: Community saddened by hit and run that killed mother of five in central Alberta

“What about the children?” That is a Sunchild First Nation resident’s thought… Continue reading

Central Alberta MLAs get to work

Red Deer & District Chamber of Commerce look forward to working with new MLAs

Red Deer River will benefit from new $23-million residual treatment centre

Project will require the demolition of old brick water treatment plant

Carbon tax, desk-thumping on agenda in upcoming Alberta legislature session

EDMONTON — Alberta Premier Jason Kenney’s government heads to the legislature this… Continue reading

Money laundering report a wake-up call for Canada, but some provinces skeptical

VANCOUVER — The authors of a report that found $47 billion was… Continue reading

WATCH: First Red Deer Market of 2019

The event is held every Saturday in the Servus Arena parking lot

Cast your votes for the Best of Red Deer

Nominations for the Best of Red Deer Readers’ Choice Awards are officially… Continue reading

Health: What causes cancer in obese people?

What decreases the risk of cancer? A colonoscopy detects polyps before they… Continue reading

Family: Acts of kindness should be played forward

Sometimes people do the nicest things! And, in so doing, they leave… Continue reading

Five NDP votes in Labrador to determine status of N.L. Liberal government

ST. JOHN’S, N.L. — The deciding seat in Newfoundland and Labrador’s Liberal… Continue reading

Vancouver Aquarium files civil claim suing city and park board over cetacean ban

VANCOUVER — The Vancouver Aquarium is suing the city and park board… Continue reading

Diplomat, peacekeeper: Saskatchewan First Nation awaits Poundmaker exoneration

When Milton Tootoosis thinks about the planned exoneration of Chief Poundmaker, he… Continue reading

Trump’s EPA shifts more environmental enforcement to states

BOKOSHE, Okla. — Susan Holmes’ home, corner store and roadside beef jerky… Continue reading

Ford is cutting 7,000 white-collar jobs

DETROIT — Ford is cutting about 7,000 white-collar jobs, which would make… Continue reading

Most Read