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LETTER: Not supporting CTS site will cost lives

'Politicians playing political games with drug users’ lives in the balance,' a reader writes
A few also gathered to show support for the CTS proposal.

The following letter to the editor was submitted by Dr. Jeff Shantz in response to 'Wall of silence' from province effectively shuts door on Cambridge CTS site

This entire situation is extremely disappointing. Politicians playing political games with drug users’ lives in the balance. Sadly, this has characterized the history of drug prohibition and the various “wars on drugs.” Not supporting, and expanding, safe consumption sites will cost lives.

The broad body of research—from criminology, public health, social work, and medical studies—shows, over decades of work, that safe consumption and overdose prevention sites save lives. They are a social response to social issues. They recognize that unsafe consumption is a health care, not a criminal or moral, issue. Unfortunately, fear and moral panics still drive too much politics—indeed they seem to have become more aggressive recently with people who use drugs being heavily demonized for political capital.

Safe consumption and overdose prevention is one of the few public health areas where an obvious, necessary, response that will save lives is not only avoided by governments but, worse, actively undermined. If this was done in other areas of health care, it would rightly be viewed as scandalous government malfeasance.

This is a thoughtful piece of reporting and should lead to hard questions being put to the provincial government.

Dr. Jeff Shantz
Department of Criminology
Kwantlen Polytechnic University
Surrey, BC