MONTREAL–Some called them drug dealers. Others said they enabled a terrible habit.
But researchers in Montreal and Vancouver were vindicated when their controversial study showed giving pure heroin to hardcore heroin addicts was more effective than methadone to treat the addiction.
Now, as doctors prepare to launch a second phase of the groundbreaking medical trial, which they hope will lead to heroin becoming a permanent treatment option, Quebec has balked at funding the Montreal clinic, effectively stopping the research, the Star has learned.Read more »
NEEDLE exchange programs have saved Diamond Valley residents almost $1.4 million in health care costs over the past decade, new research shows.
A report by the Association for Prevention and Harm Reduction Programs Australia shows sterile syringe distribution prevented at least 5500 HIV infections throughout Victoria.
Anex spokesman John Ryan said sterile syringe programs returned $4 for every $1 invested by preventing blood-transmitted viruses such as HIV and hepatitis C, saving Banyule residents $1,196,781 and $202,768 in Nillumbik.
“Nationally, more than 32,000 HIV and almost 100,000 hepatitis C infections have been prevented by providing sterile syringes and counselling to injectors in the past nine years,” Mr Ryan said.
Victoria has 194 needle and syringe exchange sites. Both Banyule and Nillumbik Community Health services run a program.
Victoria AIDS Resource and Community Service Society has operated a mobile needle exchange for more than six years. This was to enhance the fixed site and to reach those who did not access the fixed site exchange.
Since the closure of AIDS Vancouver Island's fixed site, we wonder about those who are not accessing the mobile services and where they are seeking harm-reduction supplies and information.
The Nov. 17 article said there has been a decline in substance users testing positive for HIV/AIDS. It has been a huge concern all along that there are a substantial number of individuals who do not get tested for many reasons. Since the closure of the fixed site, which had nurses regularly providing testing in a non-judgmental way, testing has decreased significantly according to those who use our services and those we work with.Read more »
From: Gulf Islands Driftwood
A Vancouver Island University group called Faces of Addiction visits Salt Spring next week with a special presentation.
The students in the fourth year of their Bachelor of Science in Nursing program, who are committed to raising public awareness in regards to substance use, addictions and harm-reduction, will hold the forum called Conversations on Youth Under 29 at the multi-purpose room in Gulf Islands Secondary School on Wednesday, Nov. 25, from 6 to 8 p.m.
Topics will include adequate housing, adequate food, exploitation and addictions. The format will include panel speakers, focus group discussions and the evening will conclude with questions and a large group discussion.Read more »
The report by the National Centre for HIV Epidemiology and Clinical Research, Return on Investment 2: Evaluating the cost-effectiveness of needle and syringe programs in Australia, found free distribution of injecting equipment in high-risk communities has prevented more than 32,000 new cases of HIV infections and around 100,000 new hepatitis C infections since 2000.
Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations executive director Don Baxter said the report shows giving injecting drug users access to needle and syringe programs has had an overwhelmingly positive effect on slowing down HIV and hepatitis C infection rates. Read more »
The Vancouver Island Health Authority is giving up on finding a single fixed-site needle exchange, at least for now.
“Our experience to date has been that it is very difficult to find a needle exchange site that is acceptable to any neighborhood,” said Howard Waldner, VIHA president and CEO.
On Monday, the health authority announced it will no longer consider opening a fixed-site on Princess Avenue.
Instead, all public health units will now offer the service. VIHA will also be looking to other partners to help distribute and safely dispose of needles, to add to already-existing mobile exchange services.
In the coming weeks it will consult with other social agencies and pharmacies.
It's a request that leaves pharmacies in the downtown core with some questions.Read more »
For now, instead of a fixed site for passing out clean needles to drug addicts and users, public health officials will expand distribution through existing services, like public-health or mental-health units.
The final number and locations will be determined in coming weeks. Consultations also will begin to see whether non-profit groups, even pharmacies, may be willing to help.
The announcement came as good news for people on Princess Street, who were alarmed at the notion of a needle exchange as a neighbour.Read more »
The Vancouver Island Health Authority wants to improve its distribution of needles to drug addicts by increasing the number of locations that hand out the syringes.
VIHA has struggled to set up a permanent needle exchange site in Victoria, which prompted health officials to review its approach to harm reduction. The health authority will conduct an expedited review of all its facilities to determine how to expand the distribution, explained Dr. Richard Stanwick, VIHA's chief medical health officer.
Nanaimo has been fortunate enough to establish a permanent site with the Harris House, according to city social planner John Horn. Though that site came with its own controversy, there has been little reason to indicate the program is not working. VIHA's new needle delivery system will augment such systems and distribute the needles to other locations as well.Read more »