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Health professionals to explain crack kits

City hall talk takes aim at harm reduction myths

GETTING AN EDUCATION. Nicholas Little of the AIDS Committee Of Ottawa hopes these green posters will draw people to a community forum to explain the medical benefits of the city's crack kit program. Credit: Brent Creelman

Health professionals will answer questions about harm reduction at a forum designed to give Ottawans scientific answers about a program city council recently decided to axe.

Nicholas Little, the men’s outreach coordinator for the AIDS Committee Of Ottawa, was spotted over the weekend putting up green posters promoting the event. The forum — titled ‘Do crack kits save lives?’ — takes place Thu, Jul 26 at 7pm at city hall.

“I’m hoping that if people are undecided about the program, that they come out and hear about it. We’re not trying to convince anyone, but I think the facts sort of speak for themselves,” says Little.

Dr Lynne Leonard, a harm reduction and HIV researcher, will join Wendy Muckle and Kathleen Cummings, the executive directors of Ottawa Inner City Health and the AIDS Committee Of Ottawa respectively.

They’re hoping to be able to explain the principles of harm reduction, says Little.

“We’re not shy about the fact we lined up supporters of the program, but everyone’s certainly welcome. We expect there will be people who are critical of the program who will be there, and I think that’s really important — that we open up the lines of communication,” says Little.

The city withdrew its funding for the safer inhalation program Jul 11, but both the program’s outreach workers and the province hinted that the program could continue without municipal support. Even Ottawa’s new police chief, Vernon White, signalled his opposition to council’s decision, saying that he would like to see a review of the program even though it was cancelled.