News / Vancouver

Insite victory may help safe-injection cause

Insite has survived the Conservatives' scorn, and the court ruling that saved the clinic could have wide-ranging implications.

Vancouver's supervised injection site will remain open after the Supreme Court of Canada declared unanimously Friday that the province, not the federal government, has jurisdiction over the facility.

The president of the Canadian Medical Association said he was pleased with the ruling.

“Insite worked,” said Dr. John Haggie. “It saved lives and it's a proven tool in management of addiction. We would like to see it as part of a national strategy.”

Despite studies that show Insite cuts down on overdose deaths, prevents the transmission of diseases and can help addicts transition into treatment, the federal government has argued that it encourages addicts to keep using drugs.

“We're disappointed,” Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Friday. “The preference of this government in dealing with drug crimes is obviously to prosecute those who sell drugs and create drug addiction in our population and in our youth, and when it comes to treating drug addiction to try to do so with programs of prevention and treatment.”

Insite has been operating since 2003 and remains the only facility of its kind in Canada.

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