Montreal divided on location of safe-injection sites

”With its glass walls and breezily painted street front, Cactus Montréal looks more like a community gym than what it is – a needle exchange that stands at the heart of a dispute over the future of Montreal’s supervised drug-injection plans.”

”When the Supreme Court opened the door last fall to safe-injection clinics in Canada, health officials in Montreal expected to move quickly and follow the lead of Vancouver’s Insite. Canada’s second-largest city seemed like a natural location for such a service, with its high number of intravenous drug users and reputation for tolerant social attitudes”

Health officials want to set up 3 sites where people could and get injected. Theses sites were already providing needles to drug users. The sites are located downtown.

But the Mayor Gérald Tremblay does not seem happy with this decision and this initiative. He thinks the neighborhood where they want to install such injection places is already infected with alot of problems such as homelessness, mental problems and drug-dealing.

Although the neighborhood has it’s share of problems, the mayor is also receiving pressure from the city hall and people who want to build condos in that area. They do not want the area to be more dangerous than it is and the city is trying to attract families to buy the condos.

Some of the residents of that area are worried that this will even attract drug users from out of town and from the U.S.

The mayor is also concerned for Montreal’s image and Quebec’s reputation for being considered progressive.

There are many divergent interests that are at stake.

«Montreal will take its plans for approval to Quebec Health Minister Yves Bolduc, who has insisted that the proposal’s prime criteria remains “social acceptability.” An aide said in an interview that the minister wants to see all the players agree on a scheme.»

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