HDNet's Dan Rather Reports Investigates Drug Use and Prostitution in Vancouver, BC
2008-02-13 - DALLAS - (BUSINESS WIRE) - Next Tuesday's "Dan Rather Reports" travels to the Downtown-Eastside section of Vancouver, British Columbia - the
single poorest neighborhood in Canada and one of the roughest areas in all of North America.
In this section of the city, one in three residents is HIV positive. The rate of hepatitis C is 70 percent - putting Vancouver on a par with Botswana when it comes to infection rates.
"A Safe Place to Shoot Up" examines the methods in which officials in Vancouver plan to deal with this problem - including a broad plan that they have enlisted called "Harm Reduction," which aims to literally reduce the harm caused by the prostitution and drug abuse by bringing these elicit activities into the government system. The idea is to stop the spread of disease, stall the urban AIDS crisis here, and show that drug addiction is a disease that needs to be treated medically, not criminalized.
"Nobody wants to be a drug addict," Vancouver Mayor Sam Sullivan tells Rather in an interview about the city's Harm Reduction tactics. "I have talked to many people with drug addictions, and they all want to be healthy. They all want to be clean. I tell you: I do not want to be a quadriplegic. I would do anything to stand up, but that's not gonna happen. That's not my life. So, I need help managing my disability, just like those people with drug addictions need help managing their disability."
Sam Sullivan is the first quadriplegic mayor of a major North American city.
In investigating one of these Harm Reduction tactics, Rather visits with IV drug users at a government-sponsored safe injection site. The location has 12 cubicles where addicts can inject their own drugs using sterile needles and equipment provided by the site with the entire process being monitored by a nurse. The facility featured in this episode is visited by some 700 IV drug users every day.
"Dan Rather Reports: A Safe Place to Shoot Up" premieres on HDNet, Tuesday, February 19 at 8:00 p.m. ET with a re-air 11:00 p.m. ET to accommodate West Coast Prime Time.
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