Fear driving opposition to supervised consumption site, says psychology prof

published on February 17, 2024 by Michael Williams and Aastha Pandey-Kanaan in CityNews Vancouver

The debate over harm reduction services has heated up after Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) chose not to move forward with a proposed supervised drug consumption site in the City of Richmond earlier this week.

Zach Walsh, a psychology professor at UBC, says fear is the driving factor when people oppose this type of service.

“They maybe have some misinformation about it, and then they say part of it is coming here, they maybe don’t realize how much it already is there,” he said. “They maybe don’t realize that it is part of the solution, not the problem.”

The federal government says supervised consumption services save lives and benefit communities. They provide a safe, clean space for people to bring their own drugs to use, in the presence of trained staff, in turn preventing accidental overdoses and resducing [sic] the chances of infectious diseases.

Last year more than 2,500 people were killed by toxic drug overdoses in B.C. Meanwhile, only one death was recorded at one of these harm reduction sites…

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