Will supervised injection sites work in Winnipeg? Addictions Foundation says they’re not sure

published on January 21, 2018 by Elisha Dacey in CBC News

Vancouver expert says benefits of safe injection sites include cost savings, fewer overdose deaths

Despite calls from local community activists for supervised, or “safe” injection sites to help prevent overdose deaths and keep needles off the streets, a local addictions expert says he believes they may not work in Manitoba.

Ben Fry, CEO of the Addictions Foundation of Manitoba, said while sites in Vancouver have been effective, that is because they targeted a concentrated population in a small area — specifically, the Downtown Eastside.

Sites save lives, money: doc

If the province is struggling with health-care funding, then supervised injection sites should be a priority simply for the money and the lives they save, said Dr. M.J. Milloy.

Milloy was one of the principal investigators for Insite, Vancouver’s largest supervised injection site and the first to open in Canada. He was mandated to do a scientific evaluation into the benefits of the Insite model — a freestanding, permanent site in the Downtown Eastside with multiple booths for drug users and which is dedicated specifically to supervised injection.

Insite does not administer drugs but provides users a safe place to inject them, and makes medical personnel available to provide addictions treatment and other help.

The five-year evaluation produced a body of scientific evidence that showed Insite resulted in cost savings for the province of at least $14 million over 10 years. The study called those savings “conservative.”

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