Vancouver's drug injection clinic Insite to stay open another year
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Vancouver’s supervised injection site received another year-long exemption from the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act by Health Canada on Friday, March 28, allowing the facility to continue to operate in the Downtown Eastside.
Anna Marie D’Angelo, spokesperson for Vancouver Coastal Health, was happy to hear of the announcement.
“It’s an annual exemption and we do get it every year, but we’re very pleased to see it come again,” D’Angelo said.
Insite opened in Sept. 2003 to provide a “safe, health-focused place where people can inject drugs and connect to health care services – from primary care to treat disease and infection, to addiction counselling and treatment, to housing and community supports,” according to VCH.
It is also North America’s first legal supervised injection site, operating as a harm-reduction service which aims to decrease adverse health, social and economic consequences of drug use without requiring the abstinence of drugs.
Research conducted by the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS has shown a 35 per cent reduction in overdose deaths within 500 metres of Insite, and the facility boasted zero deaths in all of its 2-million client visits in Sept. 2013.
The Conservative government has long been opposed to Insite, and believes the focus should instead be on drug-use prevention.
Insite is legally exempted from the act for scientific and research purposes, according to Vancouver Coastal Health.