Vancouver's safe injection site controversy
Which of these cities has a legal supervised injection site?
Vancouver is home to Insite, the first legal supervised injection site in North America. Insite is a pioneer project in harm reduction, providing a "safe, health-focused facility where people can go to inject drugs and connect to health care services – from primary care to treat disease and infection, to addiction counselling and treatment.” The site was established in 2003 and granted constitutional exemption as a three-year pilot project for research purposes. While the project was extended in 2006, the status of this model project has been under fire since. The Canadian government has made a number of attempts to shut down the site, and will likely appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada following the dismissal of their case by the BC Court of Appeal this month.
The Mayor of Vancouver announced,"With this second consecutive decision in favour of InSite, I hope the federal government will drop its legal efforts so that we can go back to focusing on InSite for what it is -- a harm reduction facility that saves lives and improves health outcomes for those living with addictions".
US-based organization Safe Games 2010, working to ensure a safer celebration of the Olympic Games this year, are hosting a public dialogue this week to discuss the Canadian government's decision to continue its efforts to close down Insite. Safe Games have applauded Vancouver's innovative response to the issue of drug use and their efforts will hopefully contribute to raising awareness about the pioneering role of Insite in the domain of drug policy and public health.