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Forum looks at prescription heroin

Jeff Tumaneng, Harley Adams, and Dale Hardy want debate about heroin addiction in forum in Maple Ridge, March 4 at Riverside Centre Auditorium. - Colleen Flanagan/THE NEWS
Jeff Tumaneng, Harley Adams, and Dale Hardy want debate about heroin addiction in forum in Maple Ridge, March 4 at Riverside Centre Auditorium.
— image credit: Colleen Flanagan/THE NEWS

Anyone for Coffee and Heroin?

That facetious invitation is the name of a documentary that will be one of the highlights of a forum in Maple Ridge next week about the prescription heroin controversy.

The forum goes at 1 p.m. on March 4 at Riverside Centre Auditorium (20575 Thorne Ave., west of 207th Street), and discusses the heroin controversy between Health Canada and the federal Conservative government.

Dale Hardy, who teaches Social Justice 12 at Riverside elementary, is organizing the event.

The forum panel will include a representative of the Pivot Legal Society, who will outline the legal case against the government.

Health Canada approved prescription heroin for 16 addicts in the Lower Mainland, but a month later Health Minister Rona Ambrose vetoed the approval. She removed prescription heroin from the drug access program.

In November 2013, a group of five heroin addicts, represented by Pivot and Providence Health, took the federal government to court over the matter.

Hardy said the government’s argument is ideological, while Health Canada’s is based on science.

Between 2002 and 2010, there were 1,654 deaths from illicit drug overdoses in the province, according to the BC Centre of Addiction Research.

Although there have been hundreds of overdoses at InSite, there have been no deaths. Hardy said the numbers prove there is a medical rationale for prescription heroin.

“It seems counter intuitive to many people, but addicts stabilize when they receive their drug from a doctor as opposed to a dealer or pimp,” said Hardy.

One of his students, Harley Adams, is looking forward to the forum.

“We need to get the truth out there, instead of some government propaganda,” he said.

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