Calls for supervised injection sites meet resistance in Ontario

Photo by John Lehmann/The Globe and Mail

Thursday, April 12, 2012 – Globe and Mail
ANNA MEHLER PAPERNY

TORONTO — The battle over whether to give addicts a safe place to inject has moved to Ontario from the West Coast.

When the Supreme Court of Canada handed Vancouver’s supervised injection site a legal victory late last year by denying the federal government’s attempt to shutter it, many observers expected the ruling to give rise to similar sites across Canada.

Not so fast.

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30 years in, Canada turning from leader to laggard in HIV/AIDS research

Photo by John Lehmann/The Globe and Mail

ANNA MEHLER PAPERNY – Globe and Mail
Friday, June 03, 2011

Three decades after AIDS first collided with, then consumed Julio Montaner’s career, he still can’t get his words out quickly enough. He speaks in cascades, with the urgency of someone in danger of losing his audience.

But he has a much easier time getting people to listen to him now than he did even 10 years ago.

AIDS turns 30 this week – a milestone for a shape-shifting disease that specializes in targeting each society’s most powerless populations.

It’s also a milestone for the Argentinean-Canadian doctor, who was the first clinician in Canada to dedicate himself to solving the riddle of HIV/AIDS, long before becoming celebrated internationally as a research pioneer. He’s head of the B.C. Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS and past president of the International AIDS Society.

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Losing the drive to quit: ‘There’s no rehabilitation system at all’

Saturday, August 30, 2008

ANNA MEHLER PAPERNY

VANCOUVER — After an 18-month cocaine and heroin binge, Karmalita Joe was ready to get clean.

She had tried and failed before at detox centres around Vancouver, but the persistent urging of staff at InSite – the supervised-injection site where she says she went to shoot up “repeatedly, daily, sadistically” – prevailed. On a Friday in early July, she asked to be admitted to OnSite, the detox facility upstairs.

But the facility, which has been operating at capacity almost since it opened a year ago, didn’t have any spare beds. Come back Monday, she was told.

In the intervening two days, she was on another trip.

“When you want to quit, you need to quit now,” she said. “If you’re told you have to wait three or four days, that drive to quit … it just goes down, and addiction takes over.”

Ms. Joe was lucky: She was back at OnSite the following Wednesday, got a bed in its detox program and has graduated to its third-floor stabilization room.

“I still, for the life of me, cannot believe I was able to stay clean,” she said.

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