In 2018, the then newly formed UCP released a coverage statement and under “Health,” affirmed its dedication to “a healthcare device that is common and complete, preventative rather than reactive, moral and responsible, sustainable and value-effective, accessible and portable, that blends public, non-profit, and personal zone provisions, and implements powerful techniques that will result in a global-class machine with advanced pleasant of existence.”
However, for the reason that taking office, the UCP authorities has made bulletins that run counter to this dedication.
In June, the UCP authorities announced that it might halt investment for brand new supervised consumption sites. This reignited the talk approximately those sites and fuelled the concept that they want extra overview — or that they truly function out of doors the fitness-care gadget. For individuals who use pills, the intake websites are a part of a typical and comprehensive health-care system. They are part of popular, proof-based totally care. Supervised consumption sites exist alongside a continuum of services starting from harm reduction to remedy. In fact, they represent a primary entry point into the health-care machine and increase the likelihood that someone will get entry to remedy. Access to treatment, that’s an objective of the UCP authorities, generally begins in supervised intake websites.
Supervised consumption sites are preventative as opposed to reactive. They save you overdoses and save you overdose-related deaths or headaches. Because of this, they reduce health-care utilization and prices. Most importantly, they hold people alive. Evidence from more than 150 web sites across the world has proven us that it’s far higher to put money into prevention of overdoses instead of reacting to overdoses after the truth. Between January 2018 and March 2019, supervised intake sites in Calgary, Lethbridge, Edmonton, Grande Prairie and Red Deer recorded more than 315,000 visits and reversed over three,500 overdoses. Because simplest a small percent of overdoses require a transfer to a health center putting, those sites no longer simplest shop lives, they shop prices. Alberta being the second one maximum affected province through Canada’s overdose crisis, it might be fiscally irresponsible now not to fund and support new supervised intake web sites.
The UCP says it is dedicated to enforcing “effective strategies with a view to result in a global-class gadget with stepped forward first-rate of existence,” but it fails to see that this intention is unattainable so long as this overdose disaster keeps. It also fails to understand that supervised consumption sites are powerful techniques that keep human beings alive — whilst also improving health results, get admission to to fitness care and guide, and yes, first-class of existence. For the first time in extra than four decades, life expectancy goes down in Canada because of the overdose disaster. This is true for Alberta as well — and guys below forty are specifically affected. In fact, seventy seven in step with cent of the individuals who died of an overdose in 2017 have been guys below forty. If those tragic deaths preserve, it is going to be not possible for the UCP government to expand a “international-elegance health care system.” Furthermore, it is going to be not possible to reach an development in best of lifestyles in Alberta irrespective of the quantity invested.
It goes with out pronouncing that denying folks that use tablets access to fitness care services on the basis of ideology is a ways from meeting the necessities of an moral and accountable health-care device. This is creating a risky precedent for Alberta. Health-care choices need to not be made based totally at the ideals, values and priorities of a political birthday party. They should be informed by scientific evidence, knowledge, and the desires of the affected groups. As the UCP authorities is ramping up the talk on supervised consumption websites, there may be a chance for the public to leap on the bandwagon and miss the factor. Instead, Albertans must ask themselves the following question: If the UCP authorities turned into so quick to turn its back on its personal dedication to health, what does this suggest for me? For my circle of relatives, for my community? Now isn’t always the time to wander away in a debate that has been strategically amplified for political benefit.
Marilou Gagnon is an associate professor in nursing on the University of Victoria and a scientist at the Canadian Institute for Substance Use Research. She is also the president of the Harm Reduction Nurses Association.