Fighting for safe-consumption site

published on April 23, 2018 by Jane Gerster in Winnipeg Free Press

Province not addressing need in downtown Winnipeg: Main Street Project executive director

Provincial politicians sparred last week over whether evidence showing safe consumption sites save lives and money would carry over if such sites were introduced in Manitoba.

It doesn’t have to be one or the other, said M.J. Milloy, a research scientist with the British Columbia Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS and a principal investigator for Insite, the first Canadian supervised-injection site.

“There’s very good data to suggest that when people use these sites they derive a lot of good benefits,” Milloy said. “They’re more likely to go to addiction treatment, more likely to start things like methadone — which leads to lower risk of death and less likelihood of committing crimes — and in terms of overdose, they’re far less likely to die of overdose.”

Since its 2003 opening, Insite has been evaluated in dozens of medical journals showing not only that it’s being used as intended and is reducing risks as expected, but also has saved upward of $17 million in HIV-related medical care alone.

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