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Harm-reduction programs threatened

HEALTH / Activists say federal omnibus bill will put drug users, prisoners at greater risk

Local advocates for successful harm-reduction programs are arguing that the federal omnibus crime bill places drug users at a higher risk of contracting diseases like HIV/AIDS and hepatitis C.
They say that Bill C-10, reintroduced last September by the Conservative Party, has more consequences than simply being “tough on crime.”
It’s a “regressive piece of legislation,” says Sandra Chu, senior policy analyst at the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network, noting that infection rates are 10 times higher for HIV and 30 times higher for hepatitis C in prisons.
“The tough-on-crime bill is going to be tough on people who use drugs,” says Rob Boyd, director of the Oasis program at Sandy Hill Community Health Centre. “We need to use a health approach to the issue of addictions, rather than a criminal approach.

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