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Senators' Statements - Supervised Access to Drugs

Hon. Larry W. Campbell: Honourable senators, the following statement is endorsed by 124 organizations from across Canada regarding Bill C-2, An Act to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (respect for communities act):

We believe in health, human rights, harm reduction, scientific evidence and the well-being of our communities.

Bill C-2, currently before Parliament, undermines all of these by setting out an excessive and unreasonable process for health authorities and community agencies looking to open, or maintain, desperately needed supervised consumption services for people who use drugs.

Supervised consumption services are health services that provide a safe, hygienic environment where people can use pre-obtained drugs under the supervision of trained staff. They are part of a broader harm reduction approach to substance abuse and are not exclusive of drug treatment programs; they are complementary.

Supervised consumption services are also part of a continuum of care for people who use drugs. They are offered in facilities where nurses and peers work together to provide much-needed care, education and support.

Scientific evidence clearly shows that supervised consumption services reduce the risks of transmission of infectious diseases and overdose-related deaths. They improve access to health, treatment and social services for the most marginalized groups and contribute to the safety and quality of life of local communities by reducing the impact of open drug scenes.

The Supreme Court of Canada has recognized that preventing access to such critical health services violates human rights.

We strongly oppose Bill C-2 and ask our representatives to reject it and, instead of creating barriers, increase access to evidence-based prevention, harm reduction and treatment services in Canada. Our communities deserve better.

Honourable senators, due to time constraints I will not have sufficient time to read into the record every organization associated with this statement, but since I know you want to know more about this, I invite you to view the full list of names on my website at www.larrycampbell.ca.

STATEMENT TO THE SENATE OPPOSING BILL C-2, AN ACT TO AMEND THE CONTROLLED DRUGS AND SUBSTANCES ACT

We believe in health, human rights, harm reduction, scientific evidence and the well-being of our communities. Bill C-2, currently before Parliament, undermines all of these by setting out an excessive and unreasonable process for health authorities and community agencies looking to open, or maintain, desperately-needed supervised consumption services (SCS) for people who use drugs. SCS are health services that provide a safe, hygienic environment where people can use pre-obtained drugs under the supervision of trained staff. SCS are part of a broader harm reduction approach to substance use. They are not exclusive of drug treatment programs; they are complementary. SCS are also part of a continuum of care for people who use drugs. They are offered in facilities where nurses and peers work together to provide much-needed care, education and support. Scientific evidence clearly shows that SCS reduce the risks of transmission of infectious diseases and overdose-related deaths. They improve access to health, treatment and social services for the most marginalized groups and contribute to the safety and quality of life of local communities by reducing the impact of open drug scenes. The Supreme Court of Canada has recognized that preventing access to such critical health services violates human rights.
We strongly oppose Bill C-2 and ask our representatives to reject it and, instead of creating barriers, increase access to evidence-based prevention, harm reduction and treatment services in Canada. Our communities deserve better.

List of signatories:
Action Hepatitis Canada
Action Positive VIH/sida
Africans in Partnership Against AIDS
Afro-Canadian Positive Network of BC
AIDS Committee of Cambridge, Kitchener, Waterloo & Area
AIDS Committee of Durham Region
AIDS Committee of Ottawa
AIDS Committee of Toronto
AIDS Committee of Windsor
AIDS Community Care Montreal
AIDS Vancouver Island
Alberta Community Council on HIV
Association Québécoise pour la promotion de la santé des personnes utilisatrices de drogues
Asian Community AIDS Services
Association of Ontario Health Centres
BC Compassion Club Society
Blood Ties Four Directions Centre
Boyle McCauley Health Centre
British Columbia Nurses' Union
CACTUS Montréal
Canadian Aboriginal AIDS Network
Canadian AIDS Society
Canadian Association of Nurses in HIV/AIDS Care
Canadian Association of People Who Use Drugs
Canadian Drug Policy Coalition
Canadian Harm Reduction Network
Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network
Canadian Students for Sensible Drug Policy
Canadian Treatment Action Council
Canadian Working Group on HIV and Rehabilitation
Casey House
CATIE
CDC Haut-Saint-Laurent
Central Alberta AIDS Network Society
Central Toronto Community Health Centres
Centre 454
Centre de recherche et d’aide pour narcomanes Centre des R.O.S.É.S. de l'Abitibi-Témiscamingue
Centre d'intervention et de prévention de la toxicomanie de l'Outaouais
Centre Sida Amitié
Centretown Community Health Centre
Coalition Sida des Sourds du Québec
COCQ-SIDA
Comprehensive Health Education Workers' Program, Institute for Sexual Minority Studies & Services, University of Alberta Comptoir familial des sans-emploi Sorel-Tracy
Department of Law and Legal Studies, Carleton University
Dopamine
Drug Users Advocacy League (DUAL)
Drug Users Resource Centre
École de travail social, UQAM
Entente en travail de rue du Bas-Saint-Laurent
Fondation québécoise du Sida
FrancoQueer
GAP-VIES
Global Platform for Drug Consumption Rooms
GRIP Montréal
Groupe Harmonie
Harm Reduction = Nursing Care Campaign
Health Officers Council of BC
HIV & AIDS Legal Clinic Ontario
HIV Edmonton
HIV West Yellowhead Society
Horizon Soleil
Inner City Health and Wellness Program, Royal Alexandra Hospital
Insite
Interagency Coalition on AIDS and Development
IRIS Estrie
Isomer Design
Les Habitations des Tisserandes
LGBTOUT
Living Positive Resource Centre
Macadam Sud
Mainline Needle Excahnge
Maison des jeunes de Huntingdon
Maison d'Hérelle
Maison Re-Né inc.
Méta d'Âme
MIELS-Québec
North Bay Regional Health Centre
Northwestern Health Unit
Pacte de rue
Pivot Legal Society
Plein Milieu
Point de repères
Portail VIH/sida du Québec
POSA/Source des Monts
Positive Living BC
Positive Living North
Positive Women's Network
Projet Ado-Communautaire en Travail de rue
Projet Intervention Prostitution Québec
PS Jeunesse
Québec Trans Health Action (ASTTeQ)
Queer Ontario
Ron Rosenes Consulting
San Patten and Associates, Inc.
Sandy Hill Community Health Centre
Saskatchewan HIV HCV Nursing Education Organization
SeroSyndicat-Blood Union Montreal
Sidaction Mauricie
Sidalys
Sida-Vie Laval
Société Elizabeth Fry du Québec
Somerset West Community Health Centre
South Riverdale Community Health Center
Stella, l'amie de Maimie
Street Health
Streetworks
Sunshine House
Toronto HIV/AIDS Network
Toronto Police Accountability Coalition
Toronto Public Health
Travail de Rue Lavaltrie
Travail de rue Val-d'Or
Une Affaire de Famille
École de service social, Université de Montréal
School of Public Health, University of Alberta
School of Nursing, University of British Columbia
Vancouver AIDS Society
Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users
Vancouver Coastal Health
Vancouver Island Persons Living with HIV/AIDS Society
YouthCO HIV & Hep C Society

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