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Vancouver, June 6 2013 – The Canadian Association of Nurses in AIDS care (CANAC) is expressing concern and disappointment that

the Federal Government is introducing restrictive legislation to control access to Supervised Consumption Sites which provide people with chronic addictions a safe, clean and supportive environment, taking drug use off the streets and into clinical settings. Bill C-65, presented to parliament by Federal Health Minister Linda Aglukkaq, lists numerous conditions that must be met by a Health Authority before the Minister for Health will provide an exemption under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (CDSA). Of most to concern to CANAC is the condition of ‘broad community support’ for new Supervised Injection Sites. CANAC President, Scott Harrison states; “We know very well how polarized public opinion is about substance use, and this proviso will mean that community members with limited or no knowledge or experience with supervised consumption sites will have the opportunity to prevent a service that science and experience demonstrates as being safe, effective and good for the public health”. CANAC believes that Bill C-65 is a further set back to responsive, socially just health care that is evidence based and focused on public health. The Federal Government are effectively allowing political ideology to replace scientific evidence in the treatment of addictions and the social conditions which place vulnerable people in harm’s way. “Whilst CANAC supports community involvement in health care planning and delivery, we should be looking closely at the real evidence from both science and the experience of communities where these essential facilities already exist. Here in Vancouver, we have ample evidence from business owners, community members and residents that a safe injection site is acceptable, warranted and is having a positive impact on the health of the community” said Harrison. “CANAC is committed to reducing HIV infections, and this Bill makes that work harder.” CANAC calls for more clarification from the government on how community support will be interpreted in decision making about the creation of Supervised Consumption Sites. For more information, please contact: Scott Harrison, President CANAC, info@canac.org