The federal government has given the green light for a safe supply of drugs for Vancouver's Downtown Eastside residents in light of the COVID-19 crisis, according to Mayor Kennedy Stewart

30 Mar 2020

"We must tackle the poisoned drug epidemic — something that has already cost us more than 1,000 lives," said Stewart during a news conference, where a wide variety of measures were announced to help residents of the Downtown Eastside from contracting or spreading the illness linked to the novel coronavirus.

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"The federal government has taken all measures required for this to be operational," said Stewart. "Now we're just waiting for the provincial guidelines."

The safe supply of pharmaceutical drugs would be focused on the 20 to 30 per cent of users in the community not already connected with health-care providers and existing safe injection sites, Stewart said.

B.C.'s chief medical health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry has called for a safer supply of drugs for more than a year, saying it would allow drug users to "seek help without the fear of being charged criminally."

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