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Bennett backs supervised consumption sites day after Manitoba bill on licensing them


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The federal minister of mental heath and addictions says she is concerned some may misunderstand the role harm reduction plays in reducing overdose deaths.

Carolyn Bennett’s remarks come a day after Manitoba’s Progressive Conservatives proposed legislation that would require supervised drug consumption sites to apply for licensing.

She says the large number of overdoses that have been reversed at such sites across the country shows the sites are a form of harm reduction backed by evidence and not rooted in ideology.

The Manitoba government has long opposed calls to allow them, saying people facing addiction need to be guided toward treatment.

The province shifted its stance this week when it introduced a bill in the legislature that would require supervised consumption sites, addiction centres with beds and withdrawal-management services to apply for provincial licences.

Bennett says it’s too soon to tell what this means for service providers, but she looks forward to speaking with the province about the bill.

Bennett was in Winnipeg to announce $13 million for harm reduction and treatment services projects across the Prairies, the Northwest Territories and Yukon.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 15, 2023.

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