Libby urges the Minister to allow persons with addictions access to treatment


House of Commons


November 18, 2013

Ms. Libby Davies (Vancouver East, NDP):

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Health made a heartless decision to prevent those who need access to medicalized opiates from having it.

She ignored her own experts and she ignored those who provide treatment when she changed the special access program.

Is it too much to ask of the minister to put ideology aside and support a method of treatment that is scientifically proven to be effective?

Ms. Eve Adams (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health, CPC):

Mr. Speaker, our policy is to take heroin out of the hands of addicts, not put it in their arms.  We do support drug treatment programs that work to end drug use in a safe way, so that those who are struggling with addiction can recover and maintain a drug-free life.  Drug treatment should be focused on ending drug use and recovering into a drug-free life.

Ms. Libby Davies (Vancouver East, NDP):

Mr. Speaker, it is ironic that the only person suffering from addiction that the Conservatives seem to have compassion for is the mayor of Toronto.

It is inexplicable that the minister went against her own department, attacking the experts. She chose to recklessly put lives at risk. No wonder her decision is now facing a court challenge.

Did the minister not learn anything from the Supreme Court decision on InSite? Will she reconsider providing this needed treatment?

Ms. Eve Adams (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health, CPC):

Mr. Speaker, under the Special Access Program, Health Canada can approve emergency access to certain medicines for Canadians with rare diseases or terminal illness.  This program was not intended as a way to give illicit drugs to addicts.  Our government’s position against the use of dangerous and addictive drugs is clear.  To keep dangerous drugs like heroin out of Canadian communities, our government has taken action to protect the integrity of the Special Access Program and closed that loophole.  I will continue to protect Canadian families and continue in investing in drug prevention programs for individuals and children.