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Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Here come de judge 

Ross at The Gazetteer reports that the Insite safe injection site has been saved. Thanks, Ross, for letting me know about this sensible judge's order:
Mr. Justice Ian Pitfield of the B.C. Supreme Court granted users and staff at the popular but controversial facility known as Insite a permanent constitutional exemption from prosecution under federal drug laws.
. . . The fate of the facility in the heart of Vancouver's drug-ravaged Downtown Eastside had been up in the air over fears that federal Health Minister Tony Clement would withdraw its legal exemption at the end of June.
. . . [Justice Pitfield] rejected arguments from the federal lawyers that drug use was a matter of individual choice and it was up to the government whether addicts at Insite should be immune from prosecution.
“Society cannot condone addiction, but in the face of its presence, it cannot fail to manage it, hopefully with ultimate success reflected in the cure of the addicted individual and abstinence,” Judge Pitfield said.
“Simply stated, I cannot agree with Canada's submission that an addict must feed his addiction in an unsafe environment when a safe environment that may lead to rehabilitation is the alternative.”
. . . Once an individual is addicted to injection drugs, they are no longer using them for recreation, Judge Pitfield said. Their addiction becomes an illness that needs treatment.
He compared their plight to alcoholics and those hooked on cigarettes, problems recognized by society even though the substances are legal.
“Society neither condemns the individual who chooses to drink or smoke to excess, nor deprives that individual of a range of health care services,” Judge Pitfield reasoned.
“I cannot see any rational or logical reason why the approach should be different when dealing with the addiction to narcotics.”
Absolutely. I wonder if Harper will dare to appeal this to the Supreme Court?

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