People won’t flood Duncan just to use safe injection site
Re: “If you build it….”, (Citizen, Oct. 29)
First off, I have to admit to some confusion about where exactly Ms. Scott was going with her letter to the editor on Oct. 29, 2020.
At first she seems to imply that by building a safe injection site (SIS) that Duncan is going to see a mass influx of people — to do what, she doesn’t say precisely. However, if Ms. Scott is implying that Duncan is going to see a mass influx of drug addicts who are going to take over the area in order to inject there, then Ms. Scott, I have to inform you, that you are wrong!
In fact, Duncan already has a safe injection site, along with five other cities on Vancouver Island, three in the Interior Health authority, four in the Fraser Health Authority and at least two in Vancouver proper. I highly doubt that people are going to pick up and leave their known safe zones to move to another city just to be able to inject an illegal narcotic at a different SIS. It may be different, say, if the Duncan SIS was giving away free drugs too, but that’s not what’s happening here.
My second point of confusion was your mention of a yearly $6.5 million health care grant, who benefits from it; homeless or health care professionals and why couldn’t they build low cost housing with that money and provide health care and support services, instead of building an SIS.
And my answer to you Ms. Scott is this, first off, there needs to be some clarification on where you got the information that Duncan gets a yearly $6.5 million and whether or not it is a health care grant, because that designation alone, states what can and can’t be done with this money. So let’s go on the assumption that you are correct, and that Duncan or the District of North Cowichan gets $6.5 million every year for a health care grant, and without going any further, you have your answer. No, it can’t build housing with a health care grant, as health care money is allocated for health care, and housing is allocated for housing.
Secondly, as Duncan already has a overdose prevention site (OPS) what the Vancouver Island Health Authority is trying to do is create a site that doesn’t just make sure that people don’t overdose, but that they have access to mental health, medical help, counselling, and drug addiction treatment, right on site, when and where they will be at their most receptive frame of mind. And while creating more low cost housing is an extremely important issue, and getting a home of their own is a great step towards recovery, until we start effectively treating drug addiction, that low cost housing is just going to be a revolving door, spewing the most vulnerable, back out to the streets.