Safe injection site would require more enforcement: Christian

By Chad Klassen / Chad Harris
October 25, 2016 - 5:49pm

KAMLOOPS — There are plenty of conversations surrounding a proposed safe injection site in the city and now a Kamloops councillor says if the facility is approved there needs to be proper enforcement.

Last month, Kamloops City Council unanimously offered its support to Interior Health's proposal to set up a safe injection site.

Councillor Ken Christian says such a facility is needed, considering the number of overdoses not just in the city but within the entire province.

He says additional RCMP officers will be required to keep the proposed site safe.

"When you look at drug use in a community there is the four pillar approach. One of those pillars is enforcement, and obviously the addition police presence would enhance that pillar. The deployment of those officers would be at the command of Superintendent Muller and his criminal intelligence unit that we talked about, so how and where those officers would be used would be at his discretion," explained Christan. "That is not the only pilar. We have to look at harm reduction in a very real way and we have to recognize as a community this is serious, we need to get on it."

The Kamloops RCMP are expecting 10 more officers in the city, a request that was approved by council earlier this year.

However, social agencies like Ask Wellness argue that a facility like Insite in Vancouver shows no evidence a safe injection site will lead to increased criminal activity.

"Suggesting that we need to have more police officers because this might happen, I think flies in the face of current evidence in other jurisdictions that are doing this," said Bob Hughes, Executive Director of Ask Wellness.

Hughes added, "At the end of the day we need to come up with something that is not just strictly enforcement, but it helps save peoples lives."

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