VICTORIA MAYOR WANTS 'DRUG CONSUMPTION SITES'
VICTORIA -- Victoria Mayor Alan Lowe is applying for an exemption to Canada's drug laws to operate three supervised drug consumption sites, based on a report released Tuesday that the city's addicts need urgent help.
"We must do something to improve the current situation and we cannot wait any longer," lead researcher Benedikt Fischer, of the Centre for Addictions Research of B.C., said at a press conference. "It should have happened yesterday."
The city will submit an application to Health Canada by December to operate for three years, as a research project, multiple sites where addicts can under supervision not only shoot up, but possibly smoke and swallow drugs.
"We need to move forward with this to look at public order on the streets and see how we can reach those most vulnerable on the street," Lowe said.
One site would be downtown with the other two yet to be decided.
Greater Victoria is home to an estimated 2,000 injection drug users and hundreds more pill poppers, crack smokers and crystal meth addicts.
The consumption sites are expected to prevent overdose deaths, slow the spread of infectious disease, and curtail hospital emergency visits. They would cost an estimated $1.2 million a year to operate.