Minster of Health Continues Attack on People Who Use Drugs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In 2011, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that the Minster of Health Leona Aglukkaq actively violated the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms by trying to shut down Vancouver’s supervised consumption service Insite. Despite this ruling, the Minster is at it again. Today Aglukkaq launched Bill C-65 known as the “Respect for Communities Act”. Despite the semantic public relations games being played with its name, the act itself does nothing but attack, degrade and violate our communities. “We desperately need these life-saving services, but Bill C-65 is aimed at making it more difficult for the opening of supervised consumption services that support the health and human rights of people who use drugs” said Zoe Dodd of the Toronto Drug Users Union.

Supervised consumption services have massive amounts of evidence to support their effectiveness in saving lives by reducing drug overdoses and inhibiting the spread of HIV and Hepatitis C. Vancouver’s highly successful Insite has documented the many positive impacts of the service, which has also seen a decrease in crime in the area and overall drug consumption.

But it is well known that the conservative government does not develop policy using scientific evidence. Rather they implement regressive policies based on moralistic ideology.  And this new bill does just that. Bill C-65 is consciously aimed at limiting access to life-saving services and will only result in more death and disease across the country.  “A real “Respect for Communities” act would be one that supports the health and human rights of people in Canada, not one that further marginalizes and criminalizes” said Alex McClelland of AIDS ACTION NOW! “This act continues the conservative government’s systematic attack on the health and rights of people who use drugs.”

The new bill is seeking to only allow the opening of new supervised consumption services if politicians, police and residents in the potential communities feel that they are warranted. This means that the health and rights of people who use drugs will be in hands of conservative residents associations, business associations, and police officials  – all groups who have already been known to often ignore, sacrifice and oppose the rights of the most socially and economically marginalized residents in their communities.

The recent Toronto and Ottawa Supervised Consumption Assessment report illustrates the desperate need for the opening of new life-saving services to support drug users across Ontario. The report asserts that supervised consumption services are not only necessary for the welfare of individuals who use drugs but also promote a higher quality of life in the communities in which they are located.

We need to end stigma, marginalization, death and disease. We need supervised consumption services now!

Support the campaign to open supervised consumption services in Toronto and Ottawa!

Learn more about Bill C-65!

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DRUGS: A Community Dialogue with Dr. Gabor Maté

Everybody uses drugs. Whether alcohol, antihistamines, or heroin, all of us put substances into our bodies to make us feel better sometimes. Join us for a community dialogue with Dr. Gabor Maté, members of the Downtown East community who have experienced poverty and homelessness, and service providers, on topics ranging from trauma, well being, and self medication; stigma, discrimination, and criminalization; poverty, gentrification, and services; and harm reduction.

 

When: Saturday June 8th from 12pm Sharp to 2pm

Where: All Saint’s Church, 315 Dundas E

Space is limited and will be first come first serve. Priority will be given to people who are home- less, under-housed or experiencing poverty. Space is wheelchair accessible. Food, refreshments, and childcare will be provided. This is a FREE event.

Download the event poster!

 

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Toronto Needs Supervised Consumption Sites! Blue Jays Baseball Banner Drop!

Sunday, May 26th, 2013 – At Sunday’s Toronto Blue Jays vs. Baltimore Orioles baseball game at the Roger’s Sports Centre, AIDS ACTION NOW! (AAN!) led people living with HIV, and their allies in a banner drop action. The AAN! banners were dropped during the 7th inning and drew attention the needs of drug users in Toronto to provide a counter discussion due to the recent media firestorm around Toronto Mayor Rob Ford’s alleged crack-cocaine use.

Fourteen demonstrators dropped two signs, which read: “We need a safe injection site NOW!” and “End Austerity NOW! People are dying of AIDS!” as an effort to reorient the recent media attention being paid to drug use in the city toward a discussion of how to support the lives of drug users living with HIV and the relationship between global austerity economics and the effects that austerity has on welfare of the most vulnerable in our community.

AAN! organizer and HIV activist Jessica Whitbread stated, “With these recent allegations against Ford, AIDS ACTION NOW! is calling attention to the real needs of people who use drugs in Toronto. We are sick of this one sided dialogue. Ford has consistently fought against services aimed to support drug users. We need programs in place that work. Supporting harm reduction measures benefits everyone.

The recent allegations of Mayor Rob Ford’s use of crack-cocaine, demonstrates that stigma is a massive barriers to progressive discussions on drug use. Ford has long stood against the creation of supervised injection and consumption services in Toronto.

While recent discussions of drug use have centered on the Mayor himself, they too are laden with the moralistic understanding of substance use with which the Mayor has approached the topic during his mandate—an understanding that transforms a matter of health and wellness to disproportionate moral and social crisis putting the well-being of many at marginalized people at risk.

The recent TOSCA report (Toronto and Ottawa Supervised Consumption Assessment) however asserts that supervised consumption services are not only necessary for the welfare of individuals who use drug but also promote a higher quality of life in the communities in which they are located, making life for many in Toronto more liveable.

Toronto is home to 17, 000 people living with HIV with 75% of them living in poverty. Of the 73,000 people living with HIV across Canada, 14, 200 have been infected through injection drug use.

Show your support for a supervised consumption site in Toronto! Like the “I support a supervised injection site in Toronto” Facebook page!

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Ontario A-G to develop prosecutorial guidelines… tell him to consult with community

Community advocates and activists in Ontario have been campaigning for years to get the Ontario government to develop prosecutorial guidelines for criminal cases of alleged HIV non-disclosure.  We need these guidelines to rein in Crown Prosecutors (and by extension police and the courts).  If properly drafted, guidelines can help to restrict the unjust and overbroad use of the criminal law against people living with HIV.  The good news–the government has announced it is developing guidelines.  The really, really bad news–the government has said that they have no intention of consulting with community about what should go into the guidelines.

The Ontario Working Group on Criminal Law and HIV Exposure (CLHE), has been leading the campaign for prosecutorial guidelines.  CLHE has posted a petition on its website … to try and force the Ontario Attorney General to consult with CLHE about the content of the guidelines.  CLHE urgently needs your support.

Please sign the petition today.

Posted in Action, Criminalization | 4 Comments

No Pants No Problem: PASAN & AAN! Edition

 

The premise is easy: you come, you drop your pants, you dance in your underwear, kiss a few cuties, then dance some more. If you’re lucky you won’t be going home alone. And for that there will be a safer sex/harm reduction booth on site with a bunch of condoms, gloves, and many other goodies.

Party goers will be awed by Tristan Ginger (Montreal) and by a super rare performance by Andrea Houston (yeah that’s right the super babe from Xtra)!

There will also be a KISSING BOOTH with surprise kissers, spin the bottle and other makeout games.

We are super excited to have DJ Momma Knows (Toronto) and our lady DJ Like the Wolf (Montreal) joining us to play the best mix tapes one could throw down to keep your bodies nice and sweaty on the dance floor.

To celebrate activism in the AIDS movement, NPNP is honoured to be raising funds for AIDS ACTION NOW! & PosterVirus and well as PASAN!

PASAN is a community-based AIDS Service Organization that strives to provide community development, education and support to prisoners and ex-prisoners in Ontario on HIV/AIDS, hepatitis C virus (HCV) and other harm reduction issues.
PASAN formed in 1991 as a grassroots response to HIV /AIDS in the Canadian prison system. Today, PASAN is the only community-based organization in Canada exclusively providing HIV/AIDS and HCV prevention education and support services to prisoners, ex-prisoners, youth in custody and their families.

$10 cover w/o pants
suggested $5 penalty w/pants

If you come before 11 then it is $5!!!

Nobody refused for lack of funds

There will be a pantcheck on site.

The Garrison is a FULLY WHEELCHAIR ACCESSIBLE venue.

Facebook event information here!

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