Proposed Edmonton injection site would face stringent approval process
Mayor Don Iveson and Health Minister Sarah Hoffman both say they support harm reduction
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Advocates for a supervised injection site in Edmonton will have to face a rigorous federal review, but they already have signs of support from some of the people they will need.
A group called Access to Medically Supervised Injection Services Edmonton announced they would like to see a site in the city, where drug users could inject under sterile conditions and supervision from medical professionals.
The group is proposing to use existing harm reduction agencies as sites, but hasn’t identified specific locations.
Under a federal law passed by the former Conservative government last year, anyone looking to set up a site has to undergo extensive public consultation, research on crime and disorder rates and obtain letters outlining the position of the local government, health minister and police chief.
Mayor Don Iveson said he personally supports supervised injection sites.
“Harm reduction is the right way to go. All the evidence points to better health outcomes, lower social disorder, more opportunities to help people combat their addictions,” he said.
But Iveson cautioned he would want to discuss the idea with council before the city submitted a formal position.
“I think it makes sense, but I think it is good for council to see that evidence and make it a city position,” he said.
Health Minister Sarah Hoffman said her government believes in the science of harm reduction, but also wants to make sure communities are heard.
“Certainly harm reduction is consistent with the values of this government, but so is working with the community in partnership,” she said.
She said they were keeping an eye on other parts of the country to see how the sites work.
“At this point, we are still in the research phases and looking at what is happening in our neighbouring jurisdictions.”
Edmonton Police Chief Rod Knecht was away on Monday and not available for an interview.