Thursday, September 29, 2005


Underbelly News
Downtown Eastside

September 29, 2005

Letter to the Editor
Vancouver Courier

It was with sadness when I read that George Chow, the most vocal candidate and opponent of the Injection Site in the 2002 municipal election has re-formed his thinking on the matter (Courier-September 29,2005 edition) and now fully accepts and supports Drug Use in the DTES.

Mr Chow states the injection site is working to reduce transmission of disease and provides people a place to inject safely. Obviously this candidate who is running with Jim Green in the 2005 race hasn't been paying attention to the evidence based research regarding Harm Reduction in the DTES.

Here is the cold blooded evidence. Vancouver has twice the national average of Hep C cases in Canada. The Canadian Medical Journal reports that rates of HIV and AIDS are soaring in the DTES and within the Aboriginal population. In fact, Native people in the DTES acquire AIDS at twice the rate of other drug users and that these rates equal those found in Botswana and South Africa. Moreover, according to City of Vancouver Drug Policy coordinator, Don McPherson, one year after the Injection site opened there has been more overdose deaths than the previous year before the Injection Site opened.

Profoundly sad is that Harm Reduction appears to have given way to Harm Production.

Far too much money has been funneled into the Downtown Eastside without any tangible results.

It's time to re-view the Harm Reduction policy in place which has had devastating consequences for the downtrodden, marginalized and poor of the Downtown Eastside.

Jamie Lee Hamilton