It’s no secret that Terrace is struggling with drug addiction. Overdose calls to paramedics rose 112 percent last year compared to 2019, one of the highest increases in the province.
It’s within this context that University of Northern British Columbia student and researcher Megan Bellamy recently posted on the Terrace Community Bulletin Board asking what locals think of the idea of the town one day having a safe injection site.
“What are everyone’s opinions on safe injection sites? Would you like to see one in Terrace? What are your thoughts? Colleagues and I are curious about your opinions and how Terrace citizens think it should work,” Bellamy wrote.
Safe injection sites, also known as “supervised consumption facilities”, are places where drug users can use substances in a safe and regulated setting.
Evidence from Vancouver, where the first such facilities in North America were set up, suggests that safe injection sites can help prevent the spread of disease and encourage people to seek addiction treatment.
Still, it’s a controversial topic for many people.
“How about rehab for them instead? I’m for paying for that!” wrote Sim DenHolme under Bellamy’s post.
“That is definitely a part of safe injection sites! We would provide resources & support for people looking to attend a detox center or treatment,” Bellamy replied.
“I don’t agree with it, there was one in Lethbridge where I used to live. It went downhill so fast. A lot of businesses were affected by it,” Merissa Dawn Gallup wrote.
Alexis Jade Redenbach replied that, “I wonder how much of this is due to the specific site and its approach. There are multiple sites that have been effective in BC to my knowledge, where research has shown no increase to crime or issues with businesses.”
Other Terrace locals seemed enthusiastic about the idea.
“Yes! I would love to see it instead of seeing people die. It’s needed here,” Brayden Andrews wrote.
After several people raised the issue of how much taxpayers would have to pay for such a program, Ron Clark said that cost should not be the main consideration.
“It doesn’t really matter who is paying because a lot of tax money is being wasted everywhere anyway so at least we know where this money is and the people who are injecting are going to use regardless so this would be a safe place for them to go and there is help there for the ones who seek it so yes I am for it cause use is going to happen regardless,” he wrote.
“As a doctor, I was opposed to supervised injection facilities.
Now I’m ready to give them a try.”
— Henry L. Dorkin M.D.
There were almost 120 replies in total on Bellamy’s post.
“These responses make me incredibly happy that there are still people out there that care about people suffering with addictions,” she wrote. “There is no ‘us’ and ‘them’. We’re all human beings that need to support each other during hard times.”