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Supporting a Safer Vancouver

Further Reading

1. Flexibility of Treaty Provisions as Regards Harm Reduction Approaches

"It would be difficult to assert that, in establishing drug-injection rooms, it is the intent of Parties to actually incite to or induce the illicit use of drugs, or even more so, to associate with, aid, abet or facilitate the possession of drugs.[...] On the contrary, it seems clear that in such cases the intention of governments is to provide healthier conditions for IV drug abusers, thereby reducing their risk of infection with grave transmittable diseases and, at least in some cases, reaching out to them with counselling and other therapeutic options. Albeit how insufficient this may look from a demand reduction point of view, it would still fall far from the intent of committing an offence as foreseen in the 1988 Convention."

United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime Legal Opinion that Harm Reduction Measures Do Not Violate UN Treaties - Prepared for the Internation Narcotics Control Board 2002

2. Sensible Solutions to Urban Drug Problems

The war on drugs is lost and prohibition has been a complete failure. These are the conclusions of this Fraser Institute series of papers, Sensible Solutions to the Urban Drug Problem. The authors suggest a wide range of options to this failed war, from harm reduction and medicalization, through to the decriminalization or legalization of drugs from marijuana to heroin.

Fraser Institute Publications, August 2001

3. Effectiveness of Needle and Syringe Programming in Reducing HIV/AIDS among Injecting Drug Users

Provides evidence for the effectiveness of selected key interventions in preventing HIV transmission among injecting drug users. The interventions reviewed range from providing information and sterile injecting equipment to the impact of drug dependence treatment on HIV prevention.

World Health Organization, 2006

4. A Cultural Impact of Needle Exchange

Examines one way in which needle-exchange services in the San Francisco Bay have affected needle-sharing and sexual-risk behaviors for injections drug users.

Contemporary Drug Problems; Fall 2001

5. A Framework for Action

Vancouver's four-pillar approach to solving the City's drug problems.

City of Vancouver; November 2000

6. Is there a legal duty to establish safe injection facilities in British Columbia?

This paper argues that the governments' inaction with respect to safe injection facilities constitutes actionable negligence.

Craig Jones LL.M.; 2001

7. Illness and Addiction

This essay examines the ways we collectively assign meaning to certain people who struggle with both mental illness and/or addiction. It also looks at how the differences in how these meanings are constructed have hindered our approaches to providing help, to the detriment of the people with addiction. Finally, it describes how the new supervised injection site and the values represented by this approach, reflect an emerging set of meanings and approaches that is ultimately more hopeful.

Dan Small, PhD; Visions: BC's Mental Health and Addictions Journal, Vol.2 No.1 Winter 2004

8. Addiction, secret lives and lost personhood

This article ex­plores the process of stig­matization at the heart of our understandings of ad­diction and its inevitable outcome: the production of suffering for people who are relegated to the cultural shadows of life.

R. Dan Small, PhD; Visions Journal: Vol.2 No.6, 2005

9. Canada's 2003 renewed drug strategy -- an evidence-based review

About three-quarters of the resources of Canada's Drug Strategy are directed towards enforcement-related efforts, despite a lack of scientific evidence to support this approach and little, if any, evaluation of the impacts of this investment. In this feature article, Kora DeBeck, Evan Wood, Julio Montaner and Thomas Kerr report on a study that examined expenditures and activities related to the Drug Strategy as renewed in 2003. The article reviews the effectiveness of the Strategy in light of current scientific evidence pertaining to the reduction of drug-related harm.

Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network HIV/AIDS Policy Law Review: Vol.10 No.2/3, 2006

10. Science and Ideology - A Call for Action

The fact that the treatment of substance abuse appears to have been judged by an entirely different standard than the treatment of other common conditions, such as diabetes, suggests that ideology and politics have trumped science.

Stephen W. Hwang, MD, MPH, Centre for Research on Inner City Health, St. Michael's Hospital, University of Toronto: 2007

11. Closed to Reason: The International Narcotics Control Board and HIV/AIDS

The United Nations system as a whole is committed to reducing HIV among people who inject drugs, to safeguarding the human rights of people who use drugs, and to increasing accountability and civil society involvement. In this context, the INCB is an anomaly: a closed body, accountable to no one, that focuses on drug control at the expense of public health and that urges national governments to do the same.

Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network: March 2007

12. Effectiveness of Sterile Needle and Syringe Programming in Reducing HIV/AIDS Among Injection Drug Users

This publication aims to make the evidence for the effectiveness of selected key interventions in preventing HIV transmission among injecting drug users accessible to a policy-making and programming audience. The interventions reviewed range from providing information and sterile injecting equipment to the impact of drug dependence treatment on HIV prevention.

World Health Organisation 2004

13. United Nations Political Declaration on HIV/AIDS

"the prevention of HIV infection must be the mainstay of national, regional and international responses to the pandemic, and therefore commit ourselves to intensifying efforts to ensure that a wide range of prevention programmes that take account of local circumstances, ethics and cultural values is available in all countries, particularly the most affected countries, including information, education and communication, in languages most understood by communities and respectful of cultures, aimed at reducing risk-taking behaviours and encouraging responsible sexual behaviour, including abstinence and fidelity; expanded access to essential commodities, including male and female condoms and sterile injecting equipment; harm-reduction efforts related to drug use; expanded access to voluntary and confidential counselling and testing; safe blood supplies; and early and effective treatment of sexually transmitted infections;"

87th Plenary Meeting, United Nations General Assembly 2 June 2006

14. Tony Trimmingham

Damien died unnecessarily of a heroin overdose. His father, Tony Trimmingham, campaigned for the establishment of a Supervised Injection Facility in the King's Cross neighbourhood of Sydney Australia. If the facility had been open when Damien was alive, he would still be with us today. Follow the link above to hear Tony's story posted on YouTube.

15. Closed to reason: time for accountability for the International Narcotic Control Board

For more than two decades, the International Narcotic Control Board (INCB) has tried to stop harm reduction and its HIV prevention programs. This posture is based on a fundamental misunderstanding of their responsibilities and of drug addiction itself - i.e. as a public health and clinical care matter made criminal by decree. A recent focal point for the Board's action has been rejecting the use of supervised injection facilities to reduce morbidity and mortality of drug injectors. They single out individual countries and attempt to bully them into rejecting such programs under the banner of the United Nations (falsely) and in the name of international treaties.

Dan Small and Ernest Drucker, Harm Reduction Journal May 8, 2007

16. Beyond Harm's Reach: Stimulant Maintenance and Meeting Places in Downtown Eastside Vancouver

This is a revision of a speech delivered by Bruce Alexander at "Beyond Harm's Reach", a conference sponsored by the Carnegie Community Association in Vancouver, B.C. in November 1998. This speech was subsequently submitted as a report to the Carnegie Community Association in August 1999. The report proposed two harm reduction strategies for intravenous cocaine misusers in Vancouver - a stimulant mainenance program, and non-restrictive meeting places. The authors use medical, psychological, and historical data to show (1) that although cocaine and other stimulants can be dangerous and addictive, they have also been safely used in a a variety of medical and social contexts for centuries; (2) that recently-established maintenance programs with stimulant drugs have decreased harm associated with illicit stimulant use in a number of locales; and (3) that the conditions for experimentation with stimulant maintenance and non-restrictive meeting places are promising in Vancouver. However, the experimentation cannot begin until some of the exaggerated fears that society holds about cocaine and other stimulants have been overcome, so these are addressed at the outset.

Bruce K. Alexander and Jonathan Y. Tsou, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, BC August 1, 1999


SupremeCourtDecision30Sept2011.pdf HarmReductionJournal-Small2012fr.pdf

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