Toronto isn’t the first city in Canada to turn a blind eye to an unsanctioned safe injection site – Vancouver allowed one to remain open last year – and they, unfortunately, weren’t the last. The precedent set in Vancouver and Toronto gave activists in Ottawa the confidence to open a similar site just this past Friday. This is dangerous. We are dealing with the control of illicit drugs and the administration of health care here. Just because the evidence suggests that the existing pop-up sites are doing good doesn’t mean that the next one will. It shouldn’t be the job of our police forces to track down and supervise these sites to ensure that they are administering their services properly.
All the while, the great wheels of law and justice turn on, harassing and jailing one type of opiate user while sympathetically extending the olive branch of education and prevention to the other. One group of pushers is beat up, jailed and deprived of establishing a legitimate place in “civilized” society. While the pushers of the other drug, like American pharmaceutical giant Purdue Pharma, pay off the government with hundreds of millions of dollars and avoid jail while continuing to profit massively off their drug. Purdue Pharma also provides OxyContin to Canada, and naturally the same civil litigation strategy is being pursued.
Injected medicines are commonly used in healthcare settings for the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of various illnesses. Unsafe injection practices put patients and healthcare providers at risk of infectious and non-infectious adverse events and have been associated with a wide variety of procedures and settings. This harm is preventable. Safe injection practices are part of Standard Precautions and are aimed at maintaining basic levels of patient safety and provider protections. As defined by the World Health Organization, a safe injection does not harm the recipient, does not expose the provider to any avoidable risks and does not result in waste that is dangerous for the community. Visit the page on CDC’s role in safe injection practices .