Every day I see patients who need a safe injection site in Ottawa. This would not only help ensure their physical health but the health promotion geared to help them stop misusing injectable drugs would be more available to them.

It is important for this issue to be debated widely so I was pleased that my letter to the Editor on this subject was the lead letter in Saturday’s edition. Have a look at it and at the other letters as well. This is the link.

Also, if you are wondering how Safe Injection Sites actually function, TVO produced this great documentary on the subject.

People do ask me how people as young as my patients, who are mostly between 16 and 18 years old get hooked on injectable drugs. Often these people are worried that Safe Injection Sites actually promote more drug-related crime. This is actually the concern of Ottawa’s Police Chief.

It’s not difficult, unfortunately, for children and youth to get hooked on drugs because they have access to them at school. I do not know whether Ottawa is unique but I ask most of the youth that I see – and not just the ones who are have a dependency or abuse disorder – where they got access to the drugs they tried and all of them say that they could get them at school. Even elementary school. It’s not unusual for children to try drugs when they are in Grade 7 or 8 – 12 or 13 years old. As a society, we need to protect our children more effectively. Better mental health prevention is needed in schools.

Thank you to everyone who is working to improve youth mental help and especially to everyone who has emailed me or communicated about my last blog. I hope this additional material is helpful and look forward to your comments.

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