OTTAWA – NDP Deputy Leader Libby Davies today rejected a United Nations International Narcotics Control Board’s (INCB) report attacking harm reduction programmes in Canada.
“The INCB’s claim that Vancouver’s InSite safe injection site and other harm reduction programmes are illegal is completely unfounded. In fact, the legal opinion of the UN’s own Drugs and Crime Program is that harm reduction programs like InSite do not violate international treaties,” said Davies. “InSite is providing life-saving health services, and is in complete compliance with the law.”
Davies comments came in response to release of the INCB’s 2008 Annual Report, which called for the Canadian government to put an end to safe injection sites and other harm reduction programmes. The INCB report appears to contradict the UN General Assembly, the World Health Organization, and other international agencies that have supported harm-reduction as an answer to drug-related health problems.
“We need rational policies that save lives by helping prevent drug overdoses and the spread of HIV and Hepatitis C. Instead, the INCB wants to force us to adopt failed US style drug war strategies,” said Davies. “The INCB is out of touch with current medical research and out of touch with Canadian realities. The INCB needs to be reformed.”
As the NDP Spokesperson for Drug Policy, Davies has met with community organizations and health groups across the country to promote harm reduction as part of Canada’s National Drug Strategy.
“The InSite program has been embraced by municipal government, local law-enforcement, local businesses and the general community who see the positive changes on our streets, and the reduced strain on our policing and health services,” added Davies. “Scientists and activists accept the positive findings from the study from InSite, and like so many Vancouverites, I’m proud that this effective program is part of our community.”