Edmonton police partially support safe injection sites
A man is seen holding a needle at a safe injection site in Vancouver in this undated image.
Edmonton Police Chief Rod Knecht supports safe injection sites, but only if other support services are made available to users.
In a press release, EPS said that these injection sites will only be successful if food, shelter, medical assistance and mental health and addiction counseling services are offered on site.
“This is our opportunity to get this right,” Knecht said. “A concerted, integrated and sustained effort is required to help drug users manage their addictions. Without such a support structure in place, Supervised Injection Sites in Edmonton will simply enable their use of illegal drugs, prolong their misery and further their victimization.”
Right now, the only two safe injection sites in Canada are located in Vancouver, and up to four facilities are being proposed in Edmonton – including one at the Royal Alexandra hospital.
EPS is also concerned about the communities near the proposed sites.
In order for the safe injection sites to be approved under the revised Bill C-37, the government requires evidence that shows that crime will decrease with a supervised injection site in the area.
“Supporters for Supervised Injection Sites speak of reductions in overdose deaths and other harm reduction, but what impact does the open drug use in adjacent streets, the filth and offensive graffiti and squalor proximal to the facility, have on the community? We need to consider this as well, to ensure public safety,” Knecht concluded.