Tuesday, January 31, 2023
Home New Release Youth may be buying opioids from B.C. drug vending machines, recovery centre...

Youth may be buying opioids from B.C. drug vending machines, recovery centre warns

Critics are raising concerns that drugs from Vancouver’s groundbreaking safe-supply narcotic vending machines could be ending up in the hands of youth.

The MySafe machines dispense hydromorphone, a medical-grade opioid, providing people with addiction a life-saving alternative to the toxic drugs circulating on the street.

Read more:

World’s first biometric opioid vending machine unveiled in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside

Read next:

WHO head ‘very concerned’ about COVID deaths as emergency declaration call looms

The first machine of its kind was rolled out in Vancouver in 2019 as a part of a pilot project, which has since expended to Victoria, London, Ont. and Dartmouth, N.S.

The MySafe machines are meant to provide people with addiction access to a safer drug alternative without fear, shame or stigma. Participants in the program are assessed by a doctor

But some people working in the recovery sector say kids aged 16 and 17 are getting their hands on the product coming out of the machines.

Story continues below advertisement

Drug vending machine coming to Downtown Eastside

“Their friends and them are accessing safe supply because they want to use it recreationally and they know, relatively, that it’s safer than the alternative,” Jessica Cooksey, director of operations with the Last Door Recovery Centre, told Global News.

“They’ve specifically mentioned taking transit downtown and purchasing.”

The process is what academics call “diversion.”

Read more:

$3.5M in funding for ‘vending machines’ that dispense safer drugs to prevent ODs

Read next:

U.S. FDA proposes annual COVID-19 vaccinations for most Americans

People with prescriptions to get the safe-supply drugs from the machines then sell them for cash, often to buy other drugs, food or necessities.

BC Liberal mental health and addictions critic Elenore Sturko said the safe supply system needs better management.

Story continues below advertisement

“There needs to be oversight so that any drugs that are being publicly funded and supplied, addictive drugs, that there are safety measures in place and other ways of having that supervised to make sure they’re not falling into the wrong hands,” she said.

Click to play video: 'Vending machine with safe drug use supplies coming to Moncton'

Vending machine with safe drug use supplies coming to Moncton

Staff at the Last Door Recovery Centre say supports must be increased to prevent diversion of substances to youth.

“It’s good people know how to access a safe supply, but it also exposes people to have access that wouldn’t necessarily have readily access,” she said.

Read more:

B.C. is decriminalizing small amounts of drugs. Why Ottawa should follow suit

Read next:

More than 50,000 Canadians have died from COVID-19 since pandemic began

The concerns come just days before British Columbia is set to decriminalize the possession of small quantities of drugs.

Story continues below advertisement

Starting Jan. 31, adults found to be in possession of up to 2.5 grams of illicit drugs will not be arrested or charged, a process meant to prevent drug users from getting caught in a cycle of criminalization and incarceration.

Police will instead offer drug users information on available health and social supports, and offer referrals to treatment when requested.

The decriminalization comes under a three-year exemption from the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act.

&copy 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

- Advertisment -

Most Popular

Toronto man sentenced after violent sexual assaults in Richmond Hill, Mississauga: police

A Toronto man has been sentenced to eight and a half years in prison after pleading guilty to two violent sexual assaults in Richmond...

Frasers Group to offer BNPL services across its retail brands

Frasers Group is preparing to launch its own buy now pay later (BNPL) service for customers of the various retail brands owned by the...

Instagram’s co-founders are back with Artifact, a kind of TikTok for text

/ The app uses algorithmic predictions, which Kevin Systrom sees as ‘the future of social.’A screenshot of Artifact, the new news app from...

Talk To Me is a potent dose of unrelenting teen horror

/ A familiar premise is elevated by a combination of brutal violence and urgent pacing.Talk To Me. Image: Sundance InstituteStop me if you’ve...