Sunday, March 09, 2008

The Ontario POV

From the Globe and Mail: lots about crack pipes, not much about Insite. Disappointing from "Canada's [Ontario-centric] National Newspaper". Anyways, the Ministry of Health and Long-term care points out UN contridictions; stands by their harm reduction programs.

UN rebukes Canada over drug programs:
Injection sites and 'crack kits' defy treaty

March 7, 2008

The United Nations drug control board has slammed three Canadian programs that provide safe crack pipes and injection sites to drug addicts.

The government-funded programs in Vancouver, Ottawa and Toronto are in contravention of a worldwide anti-drug convention that Canada signed in 1988, the
International Narcotics Control Board said in its annual report, released Wednesday. The INCB is the independent and quasi-judicial monitoring body that implements the UN's drug-control conventions.

"The Board calls upon the Government of Canada to end programmes, such as the supply of 'safer crack kits,' including the mouthpiece and screen components of pipes for smoking 'crack,' " the control board's report says.

"The distribution of drug paraphernalia, including crack pipes, to drug users in Ottawa and Toronto, as well as the presence of drug injection sites is also in violation of the international drug control treaties, to which Canada is a party."

Article 13 of the 1988 UN Convention Against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances reads, in part, that the parties should take measures "to prevent trade in and the diversion of materials and equipment for illicit production or manufacture of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances."

But the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, which in December stepped in to help fund a safe inhalation program in Ottawa that the city's council ended,
says that article contradicts findings by the World Health Organization - the UN's governing authority for health - that support the use of safe injection sites.

The Ottawa program provides drug users with rubber-tipped glass tubes to smoke crack in an effort to reduce the spread of disease through pipe-sharing.

"It's interesting to note that one branch of the United Nations is supporting safe injection sites while the other branch is saying to get rid of them," said Laurel Ostfield, a spokeswoman for Health Minister George Smitherman.

She said the ministry stands by its programs.

[emphasis added]

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