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Safe injection sites: Treating people with addictions like they matter

Last October, the Supreme Court ruled that Insite, Vancouver’s safe injection site, could stay open despite the Harper Government’s objections. The arguments hinged on whether addiction was primarily a health issue or a crime issue. If it were a health matter it would fall under provincial jurisdiction; if it were a criminal code issue, it [...]

Insite comes to Ottawa

The Harper Government TM is still attempting to shut down Insite, Canada’s only supervised injection site. The case is now before the Supreme Court of Canada, which is where I spent yesterday morning.

I had to line up to go through a scanner, and empty my pockets and put metal things in a bin and so [...]

Making wine for alcoholics

GC and I made 4,000 bottles of wine yesterday. It’s for the Managed Alcohol Program at The Oaks, which is under the Shepherds of Good Hope umbrella. We’re the new volunteer assistant winemakers.

There’s a wine-making room on the premises, where they make the equivalent of 4,000 bottles every five weeks. Making the wine instead [...]

Sex-trade workers win one - for now

As soon as I heard that three prostitution-related laws had been struck down in Ontario Superior Court yesterday, I knew the federal Conservatives would appeal. Why? Because that’s what they do. They stick their indignant little noses into anything that offends their ideological non-sensibilities, whether it has anything to do with them or not. As [...]

Art for Haiti, and Insite Update

I’ve been a little delinquent on the blogging front lately because my brain fell out.

Meanwhile, life has continued to unravel as life does, and now I’ve got a bit of a backlog of things to blog about.

For example. Last night GC and I went to Paul Dewar’s art auction for Haiti at the Cube [...]

Homelessness Forum and the Managed Alcohol Program

I spent yesterday at the Homelessness Forum, which was sponsored by the Alliance to End Homelessness.

This is my third year attending and blogging about this event (see 2007and 2008). I like it because it’s free. Actually, that’s an over-simplification. Because it’s free, it attracts the kind of people who might not normally attend conferences, [...]

Welcome to My Back Yard

The Shepherds of Good Hope just purchased a hotel about two blocks from my house. It will provide supportive housing for about 50 clients, including frail elderly people, people who are succeeding in the Managed Alcohol Program, and people living with mental illness.

Carlington has reacted with the predictable community rallying cry of “Not in My [...]

In a small crowded room with Gabor Maté

Gabor Maté at CCHC, March 4, 2009

Dr. Gabor Maté spoke in a small, packed room at the Centretown Community Health Centre a couple of days ago. He’s a physician whose clients are primarily hardcore drug addicts in Vancouver’s notorious Downtown Eastside.

[Also appearing at the same event was Dr. Samantha King, who wrote [...]

Another myth pierced

I don’t know about you, but I thought addicts were notoriously irresponsible about disposing of used needles. From everything I’ve heard in the media and at community meetings, our parks, playgrounds, schoolyards and front lawns are practically carpeted in used needles.

There’s no question some needles are ending up in those places. But apparently it’s not [...]

Harm reduction in the context of real life

A couple of weeks ago I attended a panel discussion about “harm reduction in a socio-political context,” sponsored by the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse.

During the audience Q&As, a young man named Max Rowsell took the microphone. He told us that he has been using opiates intravenously for three years, and he just found [...]