With all due respect to Senator Vern White he is wrong about safe injection sites.
He had a letter to the editor published in the two big Ottawa dailies Thursday slamming said sites.
Giving free needles to junkies seems to be counter intuitive and costly but according to information reported from the Washington's Department of Health today in The Atlantic it is neither: "...the repeal of a decade-long ban that prevented D.C. from using local funding for clean needle exchanges led to a major reduction of needle-caused HIV infections. The city is now reporting an astonishing 80 percent decrease in the number of newly diagnosed HIV cases where the reported mode of transmission was injection drug use."
Furthermore "... In 2007, the year Congress lifted the 1998 ban on D.C.'s needle exchanges, there were 149 cases of needle-caused HIV. In 2011, there were just 30."
It is difficult to wrap one's head around the fact that giving junkies needles is going to help reduce HIV. Empirical data says it does. Less HIV equals significant health savings.
It surprises me when presumed fiscal conservatives like Senator White and the rest of the Stephen Harpers reject the fact that, for example, as the LA Times reported, "...The California Department of Public Health calculates the lifetime costs of treating one person with HIV at $385,200. If those 34,000 Angelenos had an HIV rate of 16% rather than 5%, we'd be spending an additional $1.4 billion in treatment costs." That's an LRT's worth of savings.
Not only are needle exchanges the right thing morally they are the right thing financially.
If anything Health Canada and its provincial counterparts should be all over this file.