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News (Media Awareness Project) - CN BC: Editorial: Public Quiet On VIHA Effort
Title:CN BC: Editorial: Public Quiet On VIHA Effort
Published On:2012-01-24
Source:Nanaimo News Bulletin (CN BC)
Fetched On:2012-01-25 06:03:25

It's interesting that the Vancouver Island Health Authority is quietly
moving forward with its harm-reduction strategy.

What's perhaps more interesting is that the public was relatively
quiet about a previously contentious issue.

Our story last week about VIHA's plans to expand the initiative
which provides crack kits, needles and other drug-use paraphernalia to
reduce disease transmission, and thus cut health-care costs to more
Island locations generated some response from readers, but overall,
there's been little heard about the program since last year.

Yet the service has operated at three central Island locations,
including one in Nanaimo, as a secondary service (the site primarily
provides other health-care services), and as a primary service at
Harris House, just around the corner from city hall.

Perhaps the previously vocal opposition to this street-level mode of
harm reduction was overshadowed by the intense anger regarding
another, broader form the city's partnership with the province on a
strategy to reduce homelessness.

That public outcry certainly wasn't shy leading up to the civic
election in November, and though it's quieted somewhat, there's no
question residents' anger itself remains simmering.

That discomfort could boil over again as residents learn where VIHA
plans to locate additional secondary harm reduction sites. As the
downtown is already served by the existing facilities, the rest of the
city should expect to become home to at least one or perhaps more
distribution sites.

As VIHA keeps the exact locations quiet, it will be interesting to see
if anyone notices, or if the opposition proves to be another campaign
based more on fear of the unknown and less on fact.
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