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Canadian Medical Association intervenes to support harm reduction

November 4, 2010
by Press Release
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Ottawa — The Canadian Medical Association (CMA) Board of Directors has decided that the CMA will apply for intervener status before the Supreme Court of Canada in its pending appeal of a case involving Insite, the supervised injection facility in Vancouver, British Columbia.

"The CMA strongly supports the inclusion of harm reduction tools in a comprehensive national drug strategy," said Dr. Jeff Turnbull, President of the CMA. "The management of a substance-addicted person through a harm reduction strategy such as Insite is a medical decision involving clinical autonomy and not an issue subject to government intrusion." CMA has long supported harm reduction tools in the management of substance addiction, recommending it specifically in the CMA's 2002 submission to a Senate Special Committee on Illegal Drugs. The CMA also liaises with other interested stakeholders, including the National Specialty Society for Community Medicine and the Canadian Society for Addiction Medicine.

In August 2008, physician-delegates attending the CMA General Council meeting in Montréal also passed a resolution stating that: "The Canadian Medical Association calls upon the federal government to reverse its decision to appeal the British Columbia Supreme Court's decision that would allow Vancouver's supervised injection site (Insite) to remain open."

The Canadian Medical Association (CMA) is the national voice of Canadian physicians. Founded in 1867, CMA's mission is to serve and unite the physicians of Canada and be the national advocate, in partnership with the people of Canada, for the highest standards of health and healthcare. The CMA is a voluntary professional organization representing over 72,000 of Canada's physicians and comprising 12 provincial and territorial divisions and 51 national medical organizations.

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