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Thursday, December 13, 2007

Vancouver Island plans clean crack pipe program after new study shows need

Coinciding with the release of from the University of Victoria that found hepatitis C can be transmitted on shared crack pipes, the Vancouver Island Health Authority it will provide clean crack pipe mouthpieces and filters to addicts at needle exchange sites beginning April 1, 2008.

The pipe components will be available in Victoria, Nanaimo (whose town council an identical program), Campbell River and Courtenay, and elsewhere around the Island through the use of mobile units, medical officer of health Dr Murray Fyfe told CanWest News.

The decision is tantamount to a rejection of the recent trend in Canada that has seen Vancouver's Insite safe-injection site and to end that city's clean crack pipe program -- not to mention Prime Minister Stephen Harper's of the benefits of harm reduction. I wrote about the Prime Minister's opinion of harm reduction in September.

Stephen Harper's attitude about how society should treat drug addicts was outlined in a 2003 essay he wrote about the Left called "Rediscovering the Right Agenda," published in Report magazine:

"This descent into nihilism... leads to silliness such as moral neutrality on the use of marijuana or harder drugs mixed with its random moral crusades on tobacco. It explains the lack of moral censure on personal foibles of all kinds, extenuating even criminal behaviour with moral outrage at bourgeois society, which is then tangentially blamed for deviant behaviour."

[Dr Keith Martin, a Liberal MP from BC] says Mr Harper's position on substance abuse was the reason he opted not to join the newly formed Conservative Party, though he had been a member of the Canadian Alliance. "I suspect they see [substance abuse] as some kind of personal weakness — that people have a choice," says Dr Martin.
You can read the rest of Mr Harper's article online .

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