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Toronto rejects idea of injection site

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Even though Toronto’s board of health publicly endorsed supervised injection sites, the province said that it is not interested, according to the health minister. In 2011, Insite won a case in the Supreme Court, making it Canada’s only sanctioned supervised injection site. Public sentiment was that the victory would lead to similar models throughout Canada, but this did not come into fruition. The idea behind supervised injection sites is to prevent people from accruing drug charges because of their addictions.

Supervised injection sites allow hard addicts to have a safe and clean place where they can use drugs. They’re meant to help reduce overdoses, infections and the sharing of needles. Studies have shown that Vancouver’s Insite facility has saved lives and helped reduce drug consumption in the area. The Vancouver establishment has been in place since 2008, but some members of the government are lobbying to get the facility closed.

A 2012 report recommended supervised injection sites for Ottawa and Toronto. The Toronto minister said that he is open to looking at evidence to determine whether or not to use sites of this nature. A new proposal in a federal bill would make provincial approval an absolute requirement before a site could be operated in the province. There are 26 specific requirements that a site would have to meet before it could be established in the province, if the bill is passed. The requirements include proving a medical benefit and consulting with medical licensing bodies, community groups, local government and police.

Ontario criminal defence lawyers could help individuals who are facing drug charges. In some cases, a lawyer may be able to negotiate a favorable plea agreement that works for both their client and the government. For example, the lawyer may be able to get an agreement that allows the defendant to avoid jail time if they go to a drug treatment program or agree only to use in a supervised injection site.

Source: Global News, “Toronto’s Board of Health wants a supervised injection site. The province doesn’t. Now what?“, Anna Mehler Paperny, July 11, 2013

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