It's OK for Addicts to Get High
The Supreme Court of Canada overruled a lower court’s decision and will allow the Insite clinic in Vancouver to stay open. Since 2003, the clinic has allowed addicts to shoot up drugs in the presence of a nurse to prevent overdosing and also gives them clean needles to lower their risk of contracting blood borne diseases such as HIV and hepatitis. The Canadian government argued the clinic was breaking the law and the goal should be to treat and prevent drug addiction. Proponents of the clinic, which include policeman in the area and local officials, praised the ruling and cite the 35 percent drop in deaths due to drug overdose in Vancouver’s underserved Downtown Eastside district as evidence of its success. Approximately 4,600 drug addicts utilize Insite to get high.
Feds Want to See Focus on Rehab
A drug clinic in Vancouver that allows addicts to shoot up illegal drugs under supervision may be closed if the Canadian federal government has its way. The InSite clinic opened up in 2003 in response to a spike in overdoses that occurred in its neighborhood. It is a non-profit and was exempted from federal drug trafficking and possession laws so it could do this kind of work. Their special status expired in mid-2008 but a court ruling allowed it to stay open. Proponents point to the fact that the number of fatal overdoses and the incidence in HIV and hepatitis due to sharing contaminated needles have dropped. Those who want to see the clinic close argue that it encourages addiction and feel their 3 million dollar annual budget should be put towards rehabilitation centers.
Come in and Shoot Up
A facility called Insite in Vancouver that serves drug addicts in the downtown Eastside neighborhood by allowing them to come in and shoot up has reduced deaths due to overdose by 35 percent. They go into a room under the supervision of a nurse and inject heroin or cocaine with a clean needle that is given to them. The results from a study published in the Lancet suggest to researchers that other cities should adopt this model but the Canadian federal government is trying to shut it down because they believe it encourages illicit drug use. But police and health officials want the clinic to remain open and a lawsuit has been filed against the federal government to do so. Two courts have ruled to keep it open but Ottawa is taking the case to the Supreme Court which will hear it in May.