Safe Consumption Site, Approximately 50 people spoke at Monday’s city council meeting on a safe-consumption site plan. “Do you want to find my daughter beside your car dead in the morning or do you want the hospital to deal with her when she overdoses?”
Safe Consumption Site Debate to Continue in Richmond Tuesday Night
This was the impassioned argument of a father before Richmond City Council on Monday night in support of a safe consumption site. The city council is considering a move, which passed 8-1 in a committee meeting last week, to request that the health authority consider establishing a safe-consumption facility on the Richmond Hospital premises.
Stephen Mather told the city council that while a safe-consumption site is not the “be-all and end-all,” it does provide people with addictions with “a start and a spark of hope.”
“Every one of those people needs a spark of hope,” Mather went on to say.
Speaker after speaker addressed the city council on the matter, with the clear majority opposing it and expressing concern that drug usage would grow in Richmond as a result, while others spoke of their own experiences using safe-consumption places or losing loved ones to the poisonous drug crisis.
The conference was adjourned after four hours and roughly 50 speakers, and the remaining speakers, about 50 in all, will have the opportunity to share their views on Tuesday evening.
The meeting was preceded by a rally outside city hall, with hundreds of people holding signs and chanting “No drugs, no drugs.”
Many speakers contended that safe-consumption facilities had not reduced the incidence of deaths from overdoses or drug poisonings. They added that while Canada’s first safe-consumption site, Insite on Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, opened in 2003, drug deaths have continued to grow.
No one has ever died from a drug overdose or poisoning at Insite. The safe-consumption portal has had approximately 400,000 visits since its inception.
The BC Coroner has stated that deaths are occurring as a result of the presence of fentanyl and other compounds in street drugs that cause respiratory arrest, which, if not reversed, can lead to death.
After the city council voted 8-1 in a committee meeting last week to endorse the resolution, which was introduced by Councillors Kash Heed and Laura Gillanders, an online petition received over 20,000 signatures in opposition.
Chak Au was the sole councilor who voted against the decision. The council meeting will continue on Tuesday, February 13, at 7 p.m.