Abbotsford repeals controversial anti-harm reduction bylaw

Posted by the Abbotsford TimesHarm reduction image
Abbotsford council voted unanimously on Monday to amend its controversial bylaw prohibiting any harm reduction measures in the city.

The current anti-harm reduction bylaw enacted in 2005 bans such programs or measures such as the distribution of condoms, needle exchanges, marijuana dispensaries or supervised injection sites.

Fraser Health has repeatedly urged the city to allow needle exchange services as a means to prevent disease transmission and lower Abbotsford’s high rate of hepatitis C infections, believed to be tied to addicts re-using dirty needles and crack pipes.

The health authority also argues such services would decrease overdose deaths and help outreach workers connect with addicts or high-risk individuals and direct them to other needed services, including detox and treatment.

Eighty-five per cent of people who provided comments during the public input process or at two public forums supported implementing harm reduction in Abbotsford, stated a staff report for council Monday.

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