Saturday, March 8, 2008

NOTE: Free Needle Exchanges have NOT - repeat, NOT - reduced the spread of HIV


You can't even finish breakfast before the day begins!

"This is absolutely absurd," said Edward Goodfellow - the Victoria BC father on the screen.

Another day; another NIMBY? Well - not exactly.

Turns out that, without any pre-consult with the community or school administration, the Vancouver Island Health Authority has announced plans to locate a needle exchange in the old St. John's Ambulance building at 941 Pandora Avenue.

The Principal of the school, with admirable reticence, said only, "We are concerned that no-one would have spoken with us; we will be checking with the Authority and the City."

What's wrong with the idea - apart from the obvious?

Well, that building just happens to be right across the road from St. Andrew's Elementary School and playground at 1002 Pandora Avenue.

As we have come to expect, the rationale is that needle exchanges, "help to control the spread of HIV, and a police spokesman assures everyone they will be "keeping a close eye on what goes on there".

Yada, yada, yada.

My guess is that, despite an urgent meeting between parents and the school, they're on a losing wicket. Pandora is a marked street - it is already home to The Homelessness Initiative at 653, the Casual Labour Pool/Victoria Cool Aid Society at 749, and the Innovative Community Project at 1027 Pandora.

If the idea goes ahead, the school, along with its parents, teachers and students, will find it harder and harder to live up to their Mission and Beliefs:

St. Andrew's MissionThe mission of St. Andrew's Elementary is to provide a safe, stimulating, nurturing environment where a diversity of instruction is used to develop responsible, productive, lifelong learners who respect themselves, other people and their surroundings, and who use their knowledge and skills to adapt to a changing world.

And change their world most certainly will - far sooner than one would ever hope elementary school-age children needed to know.

Elizabeth James

Read the Times Colonist coverage of this travesty here.
What needle exchanges do is provide a sense of purpose and fulfill the need to be needed for the people who work at the exchanges. They are as mistaken and hopless as the dope sellers.

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