Safe injection site should continue
B.C. Criminologists' Report
CBC News, Aug 14, 2006
The federal government should give Vancouver's safe injection site for intravenous drug addicts an extension to its three-year mandate, say two B.C. criminologists commissioned by the RCMP to study the issue.
The clinic on Vancouver's Downtown Eastside hasn't been open long enough to determine what its impact has been on the transmission of HIV and other blood-borne diseases, reported Ray Corrado of Simon Fraser University and Irwin Cohen of University College of the Fraser Valley. While the site may not have delivered all of the community benefits promised, it has helped addicts, they said. "For those individuals who access it, the evidence is pretty clear that they learn how to inject safely, the overdose tragedies are prevented," Corrado said. "To me, it's a research issue. It needs to be conducted as an experiment, to be judged on its own merits."
The site can only operate legally until Sept. 12, under a three-year Health Canada exemption to Section 56 of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. Prime Minister Stephen Harper has said he would wait for the RCMP report before deciding whether to allow the site to continue with federal approval.
Cohen, who looked at safe injection sites around the world, also notes that none of the fears voiced by opponents of the Vancouver site have materialized. "The main argument for those against supervised injection sites would be that it would bring crime to the area, that it would increase the use of drugs, that it would actually encourage people who don't use drugs to begin to use drugs," he said. "And none of that has been borne out by the research anywhere." However, Cohen noted that the site is not yet attracting enough users, adding that the vast majority of addicts in the area are still injecting drugs somewhere else.
Vancouver's supervised research injection site, which opened in September 2003, is the only one in North America. According to research by the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority, there were an average of 607 visits a day to the clinic during the two-year period that ended March 31, 2006. The health authority says 453 drug users overdosed at the clinic in that two-year period, but none died, thanks to staff trained to deal with overdoses. The staff also provide counselling and made 4,083 referrals during the two years, 40 per cent of them to addiction counselling. The clinic was established to help the nearly 5,000 injection drug users the Downtown Eastside, which has some of the highest HIV and Hepatitis-C infection rates in the world.
Supporters have been lobbying keep the facility open and say they'll try to maintain a safe injection site in the hard-pressed neighbourhood if the Conservative government pulls its support.
CANADA DRUG SCENE DISGUSTING
Canada's drug scene is human misery (heroin, cocaine, crack, crystal meth injected & smoked in open downtown). National Post, Sep 2, 2007
DRUG DEFECATORS NEED TOILETS
WAR BY DRUGS
Safe injection site should continue (B.C. criminologists report). CBC, Aug 14, 2006
CRACK KITS HIT CANADA
EVIL PURVEYORS FEEDING OFF MISERY
DRUG WAR IS PEACE and IN AFGHAN FIELDS
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