Safe-injection sites save lives

Re. “Injection sites get tepid response in poll,” Jan. 18

Since our youngest son died from an accidental overdose to fentanyl in 2014, I have become an advocate for measures that reduce the harm that come from drug use. People who struggle with addiction don’t have a “choice” to just stop taking the drug they have become dependent on without access to treatment that is in very short supply.

Supervised injection services are one piece of the harm-reduction puzzle. In my conversations with even the greatest skeptics I found that most people support these services when I explain why they exist and what they do for people.

If the question is, “Do you support sites where people inject illegal drugs?” you get a different answer than to the question, “Do you support a health-care service that prevents overdose deaths, cuts infection risk, saves health-care costs, reduces public disorder (e.g. public injecting, unsafe needle disposal) and increases the number of people going into treatment by 30 per cent?” Supervised injection services are proven to do all these things.

As a mom, the most important aspect of harm reduction is to keep them alive, so they have a chance to make a better decision on another day.

Petra Schulz, founding member of Moms Stop The Harm, Edmonton

Published in the Edmonton Journal, January 20, 2017