MP questions how injection sites would fight fentanyl

By James Peters
September 26, 2016 - 11:31am Updated: September 26, 2016 - 12:57pm

KAMLOOPS — Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo MP Cathy McLeod says she has her doubts about the potential for supervised injection sites to effectively address the fentanyl overdose crisis.

Interior Health is exploring the possibility of setting up an injection site in both Kamloops and Kelowna.

McLeod says she's not sure how much of the current overdose epidemic is due to injectable drugs.

"I would really like to see some analysis in terms of how much of it is injected versus how much would be through pills, and would a safe injection site actually help deal with that horrific issue," said McLeod.

"I haven't seen the breakdown in terms of these horrific deaths. Certainly, if there's pills, I don't perceive that people taking pills laced with fentanyl are actually going to go to a safe injection site. So to what degree does that actually help [solve] the problem?"

Federal Health Minister Jane Philpott has committed to helping communities reduce barriers to getting injection sites set up.

But McLeod says the previous Harper government added safeguards to allow local councils and police agencies to have input into planning the sites.

"Previous to that, the minister could just authorize a safe injection site anywhere. What we said is, 'You have to talk to mayors and councils, you have to talk to the police, you have to do your homework before you move forward with a site.' I thought we had a reasoned approach."

"Hopefully as they look at making changes, they don't take away the ability for mayors and councils to have some influence on that decision making. Or for the police."

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