Quesnel Mayor Bob Simpson says he and Council are not opposed in any way to getting resources to individuals with addiction issues.
But he says they are concerned about the collateral harm that is being done in communities, as a result of the approach being taken to harm reduction for addicts.
“We’re asking where is the reduction of harm in communities, that our seniors know that they can walk about in our community safe from harm, young families can go into our public washrooms without encountering people doing drugs.”
Simpson says there are also seems to be a lack of compassion, on the part of advocates for addicts, for the public who are becoming victims of crime….
“You try to have the conversation with the advocates of the homeless and the advocates for the addicts saying there is trauma on the other side when people’s goods are stolen or cars are broken into and their street has a drug house on it, they claim no responsibility for that because a drug house isn’t part of what they do. Yet at the end of the day, giving needles out, and giving people overdose prevention sites, and giving people the ability to safely use injection drugs seems to fail to comprehend that those drugs are still illegal in Canada, and are still gotten for the most part, by street entrenched people, by breaking in and stealing other people’s goods.
Simpson says when you try to have a meaningful conversation about it, you are labelled…
“We really just need to be able to sit down, without acrimony, without shaming and without blaming, and without calling people racist and heartless because they want to talk about the community implications about the approach we’re taking to individuals with addictions, is really stopping us, i think, from mounting a more appropriate community response.”
Simpson also reminds people that there are four pillars in dealing with drug addiction and that harm reduction is just one.
He says the others are prevention, treatment and enforcement.
Simpson says harm reduction, however, seems to be getting the most money right now.