There’s been a delay in approving supervised injection sites at the Dr. Peter Centre here in Vancouver.
A centre with a focus based on harm reduction and providing safe injection sites for AIDS patients.
But even when told there’s research that supports the use of them, Canada’s Health Minister Rona Ambrose says it’s not her call.
“I don’t approve clinical trials, the department does, so I’m not aware and that’s not something the Health Minister does.”
“Researchers at Health Canada make the decisions about what research is approved and that’s not something the Health Minister does.”
But, she adds the application hasn’t even been raised to her and she knows nothing about it.
The Dr. Peter Centre has been waiting over a year for approval and worries they could be shut down at any time.
Dr. Thomas Kerr is responding to Canada’s Health Minister claiming she hasn’t even seen the application submitted over a year ago to approve another safe injection site in Vancouver.
“I think it’s embarrassing that our Federal Health Minister is completely out of the loop with respect to developments in the area of supervised injection sites.”
Kerr has overseen the research of safe injection site Insite and says the Federal Government’s archaic anti-drug approach is ignoring the proof that’s in the pudding.
“It has reduced rates of infectious diseases such as HIV, it’s also had a positive impact in terms of reducing fatal overdoses.”
“The Federal Government is referring to supervised injection sites as drug injection houses. Trying to link them to shooting galleries. Creating fear around these kinds of things when in fact they’re a clinic program supported by high quality medical evidence.”
He says the public counts on Health Canada to make recommendations based on high quality scientific evidence like this, but says they’re not taking research seriously.
Kerr adds he doesn’t quite understand the delay in approval for more sites.