NewsFri Jan 4, 2008 - 12:15 pm EST
Ontario Health Minister Backs Free Crack Pipe Distribution Program
By John Connolly
OTTAWA, January 4, 2008 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Ontario Health Minister George Smitherman supports a program that will distribute free crack pipes to citizens, ensuring that the program will stay alive despite strong opposition from Ottawa city officials.
The program, designed to fight the possible spread of hepatitis C and HIV from sharing crack pipes, lost $7,500 from the city last year, putting the future of the free crack pipe program in jeopardy. City officials said there is no evidence that the program has actually halted the spread of communicable diseases, and that crack addicts need help, not supplies.
Smitherman’s support was confirmed Friday by a Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care spokesman.
"We have not officially heard in writing, but the minister is committed to funding this program," said Jack McCarthy, director of the Somerset West Community Health Centre. He added that he was very pleased with the news.
Smitherman, an open homosexual, is well-known for his advocacy of gay marriage and his invitation to gay medical workers in the U.S. to come to Canada for work. In 2006, Smitherman admitted to having used drugs before being elected to office.
McCarthy claimed that the crack pipe program was not political, and that it is necessary to prevent disease. He also cited the fact that Ottawa is second to Vancouver in cases of hepatitis C and HIV within the injection drug-using population as reason to continue the program.
In early 2007, a study was released in concerning a Vancouver "safe injection" program that provided clean needles to heroin and cocaine addicts showing that the program had no impact on overdose deaths in the area. The program initially claimed ‘success’ because more than 600 people came to the site per day to be injected.
To contact Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty go to:
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