Sunday, March 09, 2008

Different branches of the UN can't agree on Insite, Cdn Drug policy

My question is: How is the UN approaching other countries with safe injection sites? Are they signatories to the same treaties? Is their compliance also being questioned?

From The Vancouver Province, [emphasis added]

UN drug czar wants Insite closed
Is B.C.'s safe-injection site legal or not?

Canwest News ServicePublished: Wednesday, March 05, 2008

UNITED NATIONS -- The head of the United Nations drug-control agency wants Insite, Vancouver's safe-injection site, closed.

The International Narcotics Control Board is calling on Canada to ban various community-backed programs that enable illicit drug use, including Insite. It also wants to stop "safer crack kits" being handed out.

"We want the government of Canada to be in compliance with [its] treaty obligations, but there is an internal problem, and we would urge the government of Canada to sort [it] out," agency head, Dr. Philip Emafo, said The UN body says Insite
contravenes a 1961 treaty Canada signed that says countries should pass laws ensuring drugs are used only for medical or scientific purposes.

Last year, Insite was granted a special exemption from federal drug-enforcement laws, to last until June 30.

Insite has appealed to the B.C. Supreme Court to rule it is a health facility that is therefore constitutionally under provincial jurisdiction.

Insite has argued that the UN narcotics-control board itself called for a legal opinion from the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, which found that harm-reduction programs do not violate treaties.

"It's clear from the legal brief that Insite is in compliance, and all it's doing is providing an intake bridge to recovery for users," said Insite spokesman Nathan Allen.

The Vancouver Island Health Authority focused its "Safer Crack Kits" program on Nanaimo last year, but suspended the pilot project after community opposition.

However, the province's Centre for Disease Control is looking at adding similar kits for distribution throughout B.C., along with other "harm-reduction" supplies such as condoms and syringes.

Health Minister Tony Clement could not be reached for comment.

No comments: