Posted on July 27, 2013
Source: The Vancouver Sun
It has been nearly 10 years since Insite, Vancouver’s supervised injection site opened and two years since the Supreme Court of Canada unanimously determined that it should remain open to protect public health.
A large body of scientific evidence demonstrates that Insite and other harm reduction programs, such as needle exchanges, are effective in reducing the harms associated with illicit drug use. Sadly, ideological debate about harm reduction continues, despite widespread agreement among health authorities, including the World Health Organization, that such programs are essential to the fight against HIV/AIDS and other drug-related harms.
A recently released report summarizing 15 years of data on the drug situation in Vancouver provides further evidence that harm reduction programs have helped reduce illicit drug use and improve public health: fewer people are injecting drugs; more are accessing addiction treatment; and HIV transmission related to injection drug use has plummeted.
Likewise, a large body of scientific evidence shows that Insite is meeting its objectives. Peer-reviewed studies involving dozens of researchers from Canada, Australia, Britain and the U.S. demonstrate clearly that Insite does not increase crime or perpetuate active drug use. More than 30 peer-reviewed studies show that Insite saves lives and health care dollars, reduces disease transmission, and promotes entry into addiction treatment.