Councillor Jenni Capps Votes In Favour Of A Resolution “Safer Drug Supply To Save Lives” – But The Resolution Is Very Vague About What That Entails

Jenni Capps, candidate for Duncan City Council (photo: Cowichan Valley Citizen)
Jenni Capps, elected to Duncan City Council on 20 October 2018 (photo: Cowichan Valley Citizen)

Councillor Jenni Capps attended the Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities (AVICC) Convention in Powell River between 12-14 April 2019.

Here is a link to the AVICC 2019 program and Resolutions [note:PDF, 96 pages]

On her Facebook page she reported the following about the AVICC Convention:

Jenni Capps spoke at AVICC in favour of Resolution 2Lowering the Voting Age In Municipal Elections To 16

She also voted in favour of Resolution 26, proposed by the City of Victoria:

Safer Drug Supply to Save Lives [proposed by the City of Victoria]

WHEREAS It has been two years since B.C. declared a public-health emergency due to increased overdoses, yet the death toll for those consuming substances continues to rise due to an unpredictable and highly-toxic drug supply;

AND WHEREAS people with opioid use disorder, a chronic relapsing medical condition, are at high risk overdose-related harms including death and an estimated 42,200 people inject toxic substances in British Columbia, it is not possible for the treatment system to rapidly increase services fast enough to manage this number of people as “patients” within a medical treatment model given the many challenges in achieving and retaining the people on opioid use disorder treatment, people at risk of overdose in British Columbia do not have access to a safer alternative to the unpredictable, highly toxic drug supply:

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that in an effort to save lives and reduce harm due to an unpredictable and highly-toxic drug supply, and as part of a holistic response to the public-health emergency, including prevention, treatment, and recovery, that the Province of British Columbia work with local communities, Health Authorities across the Province, the Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions, and the Ministry of Health ensure that people at risk of overdose harm have access to safer alternatives.

Resolutions Committee recommendation: No Recommendation

Resolutions Committee comments:

The Resolutions Committee advises that while the UBCM membership has previously endorsed
resolutions calling for action by the provincial and federal governments to address overdose-related
harms, the membership has not previously considered a resolution asking the provincial government
to work specifically with local communities to ensure that people at risk of overdose harm have access
to safer alternatives.

On the issue of overdose, the membership has previously endorsed resolutions requesting publicly
available, anonymized, opioid prescription rates, by community (2018-B170), a comprehensive and
culturally safe public health approach to the opioid crisis (2018-B142, 2017-B71). ”

Our Comments: We have some major reservations about Resolution 26 because it is unclear what it means.

Are the City of Victoria and AVICC advocating giving pharmaceutical grade heroin to addicts through prescriptions? If that is the case, we think that will lead to a Cowichan Valley replication of the situation described in the video Seattle Is Dying, which we have posted on this website. We definitely cannot support that scenario or that policy.

Or, does Resolution 26 mean a program like the Rhode Island program described at the end of the Seattle Is Dying video? The Rhode Island program involves putting addicts on heroin replacements like Methadone and it is a program we could support if implemented in B.C.

We cannot say more at this time because Resolution 26, as written, is totally unclear about what a Safer Drug Supply to Save Lives program would look like.

Until clarification is provided, we reserve judgement on this proposal and Resolution. But we will oppose any effort to supply heroin addicts with pharmaceutical grade heroin by prescription if that is, in fact, what this Resolution entails.

Here is the video Seattle Is Dying, which we have posted on this website. We note that video had about 1,700,000 YouTube views when we first posted it on 1 April 2019. Today, it has had 2,652,865 views on YouTube.

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