critics worry that drugs Vancouver’s rampant safe-supply narcotic vending machines may be ending up in the hands of youth.
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The first machine of its kind was launched in Vancouver in 2019 as part of a pilot project that has since spread to Victoria, London, Ontario. and Dartmouth, NS
MySafe machines are meant to provide people with addiction access to a safe drug alternative without fear, shame or stigma. Program participants are assessed by a doctor
But some people working in the recovery sector say children as young as 16 and 17 are trying their hand at the product coming out of the machines.
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Jessica Cooksey, director of operations at Last Door Recovery Center, told Global News, “Their friends and they are using Safe Supply because they want to use it recreationally and they relatively know it’s safer than alternatives. “
“He specifically mentioned taking transit downtown and going shopping.”
The process is what academics call “diversion”.
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People with prescriptions to obtain safe-supply drugs from machines, then sell them for cash, often to buy other drugs, food or necessities.
BC Liberal mental health and addictions critic Eleanor Sterko said the safe supply system needed better management.
“There needs to be oversight so that publicly funded and supplied drugs, addictive drugs, that there are safeguards in place and other methods of monitoring are in place to ensure they do not end up in the wrong hands.” are not falling,” he said.
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Last Door Recovery Center staff say support should be increased for youth to stop turning to substances.
“It’s a good thing that people know how to access a safe supply, but it also exposes access to people who may not necessarily have easy access,” she said.
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The concerns come just days before British Columbia decriminalized possession of small amounts of drugs.
From January 31, adults found in possession of up to 2.5 grams of illicit drugs will not be arrested or charged, a process intended to prevent drug users from becoming trapped in a cycle of criminalization and incarceration.
Instead police will provide information about the health and social support available to drug users, and offer referrals for treatment if requested.
The decriminalization comes under the three-year exemption from the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act.
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