Text Size

Vancouver Safe Drug Injection Clinic Has US Cities Watching

posted 07:04 AM EST, Wed February 06, 2008
-- filed under: | | | |
Vancouver Safe Drug Injection Clinic Has US Cities Watching © Photo: AMgill

Inner city Vancouver suffers a heroin epidemic. In a harm reduction effort, the province has funded a clinic for safe, medically supervised injection drug use. US municipalities are watching, but the idea remains controversial, even within Canada.

US delegates at the Vancouver think tank conference on drug abuse "Beyond 2008", a UN sanctioned conference promoting better solutions to the drug problem, say that a number of US cities are considering adopting trial programs similar to Vancouver's safe injection project.

Vancouver, in response to endemic levels of injection drug use (and all of the problems associated with this use) initiated a pilot project called "Insite" which allows injection drug users to inject drugs under medical supervision, and free from fear of prosecution. The project aims largely to reduce accidental and fatal drug overdoses, as well as slow the spread of HIV/AIDS. Currently funded by the BC government, the project has been granted an additional 6 months of funding, but its long term existence remains controversial within Canada.

Deborah Peterson Small, a US delegate at the conference representing the New York based group, Breaking the Chains, says that a number of US cities are watching the Canadian experiment closely, with San Francisco closest to initiating a similar pilot project.

Another US supporter of the program, and of legalization in general, is retired New Jersey Police Officer, Jack Cole. Cole, who called the US war on drugs a "dismal failure", stated that legalization is the only way to end the violence and profiteering surrounding illicit drugs. He asserts that an overwhelming majority of law enforcement officials in the US agree with his assessment, and would welcome legalization and regulation over prohibition.

New York based Deborah Small concedes that although NYC is watching the pilot project, they are unlikely to fund a similar project anytime soon.

Legalization faces stiff opposition from most public policy groups, but Sanhoh Tree, from the Institute of Public Policy Studies out of DC, calls harm reduction projects a viable solution, although imperfect without addressing the origination of the drugs.

He blames political culture for the stubborn continuation of the drug war, even in the face of some considerable evidence against it, explaining that "Our politicians want to look tough".

Subscribe Subscribe to this topic category
Creative Commons License
Copyright Notice
We welcome republishing of our content on condition that you credit Choose Help and the respective authors. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons License.
Helpful Information
How Heroin Changes Your Mind
Heroin Addiction: Physical Dependence + Addiction Brain Changes = A Tough Drug to Beat © IllusionWaltz
Withdrawal symptoms don't tell the whole story. Learn why persistent cravings make heroin so tough to quit. Read Article
Addictions February 17, 2014 (8)
Heroin Harm Reduction Advice: A User Guide Here are 50+ heroin harm reduction tips... because anything that prevents overdose and keeps you alive and healthy increases the odds of finding eventual lasting recovery. Read Article
Harm Reduction February 22, 2018

This website is certified by Health On the Net Foundation. This site complies with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information.

Find Treatment
Browse by region »
Scan to call us
using your phone camera app