Canada: Drug Users Back Proposed Needle Exchange in Victoria
August 31, 2009
Toward the goal of having a program operating in a fixed site by winter, an association of intravenous drug users in Victoria is throwing its support behind a proposed needle-exchange program (NEP) location it had previously rejected. In a July letter to health officials, the Society of Living Intravenous Drug Users (SOLID) had said the proposed Princess Street location was inappropriate because it was too far from downtown and in an "extremely dangerous and violent" area.
SOLID formally withdrew from the advisory committee in June, charging in a letter that NEP clients' views were not being addressed adequately. The committee members include representatives from the city, downtown residents, businesses, and VIHA, among others.
"We're realizing that there's one site proposed and after more than a year, we need to get behind the one that's chosen," said Wallace. In May 2008, the Cormorant Street exchange was shut down after operating for six years. The program was evicted after the landlord received neighbors' complaints of loitering, discarded needles, condoms, and human feces.
Canwest New Service
08.27.2009; Matthew Pearson