A primer on Vancouver’s safe-injection sites

published on March 14, 2016 by Tamsyn Burgmann in Metro News

VANCOUVER – A look at Vancouver’s safe-injection sites as Toronto considers the health benefits of integrating supervised injection into existing harm-reduction programs.

What exists right now?

There are two supervised injection sites in Vancouver.

Insite became North America’s first legal clinic in 2003 and operates under Vancouver Coastal Health, which provides all funding andsenior administrative and health-care workers.

The Dr. Peter AIDS Foundation has run a safe-injection program since 2002. The centre becamethe first health-care facility to integrate the service into its model of care after the BC College of Nurses clarified that supervised injection is within the scope of practice for nurses.

What’s the history?

Insitewas openedas part of a harm-reduction plan to tackle an epidemic of HIV-AIDS and drug overdose deaths in Vancouver.

Is there any relationship with the local crime rate?

An article by Julio Montaner and Thomas Kerr of the British ColumbiaCentre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS says peer-reviewed studies have shown Insite saves lives and health-care money, reduces disease transmission, and promotes entry into addiction treatment.

They saypeer-reviewed studies done by researchersfrom Canada, Australia, Britain and the U.S.showInsite does not increase crime or perpetuate active drug use.

View the full article