Langley missing out on needle education: Councillor

published on September 17, 2015 by Patrick Colvin in 24 Hours (Vancouver)

Langley city council voted down a motion Sept. 14 to have staff report back on advice and recommendations on the viability of a needle exchange program – leaving one councillor concerned about their lack of understanding regarding harm-reduction practices.

UBC professor of medicine Thomas Kerr said council members are living “in the stone age.”

“Needle exchange is the single-most effective way of preventing HIV infection and reversing an existing epidemic, it’s so effective that the World Health Organization and the United Nations joint program on HIV/AIDS has issued a technical guide that suggest that needle exchange is actually an essential service,” said Kerr. “So quite frankly these types of political discussion about should we have a needle exchange, as a scientist, I find them embarrassing.”

“For some reason we think that in the case of drug users and drug addiction that we can sit here and pick and choose what’s right based on our values and our social opinions, and I think quite frankly that’s completely unethical and a violation of human rights, people should have access to the best available medical treatments.”

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