New safe injection sites will be in place ahead of federal legislation change: Lake

published on December 12, 2016 by Jen St. Denis in Metro News

Changes are coming to a restrictive federal law, but B.C.’s health minister says health agencies won’t have to wait to have applications sped up

B.C.’s health minister believes health agencies won’t necessarily have to wait for federal legislation to pass before having their existing new safe injection site applications sped up.

“Even under that existing regime I know the minister’s officials at Health Canada have talked directly to Vancouver Coastal Health to try to expedite the two applications that they have at the moment,” said Terry Lake at the opening of an emergency mobile medical unit in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.

Dr. Keith Ahamad said he believes numbers reported by the BC Coroner likely under-report the number of deaths ultimately caused by overdoses, because many times people suffer irreparable brain damage and then succumb to a complication.

“There is a lot of harm that’s going unmeasured from untreated addiction right now,” said Dr. Ahamad, who will work at the MMU.

“Our addiction team at St. Paul’s is following upwards of 18 to 25 per cent of the hospital at any one time.”

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