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No New Injection Sites For Addicts Until Questions Answered Says Minister Clement, Canada

Initial research has raised new questions that must be answered before Canada's new government can make an informed decision about the future of Vancouver's drug injection site or consider requests for any new injection sites says Federal Health Minister Tony Clement.

"Do safe injection sites contribute to lowering drug use and fighting addiction? Right now the only thing the research to date has proven conclusively is drug addicts need more help to get off drugs," Minister Clement says. "Given the need for more facts, I am unable to approve the current request to extend the Vancouver site for another three and a half years."

Minister Clement has deferred the decision on the Vancouver application to December 31st, 2007, during which time additional studies will be conducted into how supervised injection sites affect crime, prevention and treatment. Insite operations will continue during this review.

The Minister also noted he will be working with his federal counterparts at Justice and Public Safety, along with the Canadian Centre for Substance Abuse, to accelerate the launch and implementation of a new National Drug Strategy (NDS), which will put greater emphasis on programs that reduce drug and alcohol abuse.

"We believe the best form of harm reduction is to help addicts to break the cycle of dependency," Minister Clement said, "We also need better education and prevention to ensure Canadians don't get addicted to drugs in the first place."

Health Canada will not entertain any applications for the establishment of additional injection sites in other parts of Canada until the NDS is in place, and the Vancouver review is completed.

Health Canada