Columnist threatened for linking Cory Monteith death to drug injection site
Published Saturday, July 20, 2013 9:49PM EDT
A Calgary columnist says she has received threats after linking “Glee” star Cory Monteith’s death to a safe drug injection site in Vancouver.
Licia Corbella wrote in the Calgary Herald that Monteith, who died from the combined effects of heroin and alcohol in a Vancouver hotel room last weekend, probably got the drug in the city himself, “or had a gofer do it for him by visiting Insite.”
Insite is a supervised drug injection site in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, a neighbourhood plagued by drug addiction and poverty.
“The next step is easy,” Corbella wrote. “Wait for an injection drug user to show up, ask them to score you some heroin, grab a few clean, free needles and distilled water, and you’re set.”
The column, published Friday, immediately drew outrage on social media. Some critics called Corbella “insane” and said her arguments were “ludicrous” and inflammatory.
Corbella told CTV British Columbia that she stands by her column, even though she has heard from "very angry people who hope I die of a heroin overdose, people who hope that I die a long and painful death."
In her piece, Corbella argued that everyone “from teetotalling old ladies with blue hair to a straight-A student in elementary school” knows that drugs can be easily found in the Downtown Eastside.
Corbella also wrote that Monteith, 31, likely wouldn’t have been able to get heroin in other Canadian cities, suggesting the actor could still be alive if he hadn’t visited Vancouver.
"I heard young people in Calgary talking about going to Vancouver to try out heroin for the first time,” Corbella told CTV.
“There's a real culture of acceptance and enabling in the drug culture in Vancouver that doesn't exist in other cities,” she said. “You do not see open drug use on the streets of Calgary, for instance, or on the streets of Montreal or Toronto."
But her detractors have pointed out that Insite only provides clean needles, not drugs, and that no one has ever died while using the facility, even though it sees up to 800 visitors per day.
Insite’s operators say Corbella’s column is misleading.
“You can find drugs anywhere,” said Mark Townsend of the PHS Community Services Society. “You can find drugs in prisons, so for sure you can find (them) in Calgary.”
Police have said that they don’t know where Monteith got the heroin. They said the Canadian-born star was alone in his hotel room when he died.
With a report from CTV British Columbia’s Penny Daflos