INSITE EXTENSION A POLITICAL MANOEUVRE INSTEAD OF A PUBLIC HEALTH DECISION
Existing evidence shows supervised injection facility should be permanent
VANCOUVER, BC - The six-month extension given to Vancouver's supervised injection facility by federal
Health Minister Tony Clement earlier this afternoon is an irresponsible decision on a public health program that has been
proven to work, said the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network today.
"This is the second time that the federal government has stalled on this decision
and said that more research is needed. But the fact is, Minister Clement is asking
questions that have already been answered and calling for research that's
already been done," said Richard Elliott, Executive Director. "The evidence is
unequivocal: Insite is saving lives and lowering the risk of HIV infection in one of
the most marginalized communities in Canada, and increasing the chances of
referring people who use drugs to addiction treatment services."
This latest extension comes just days ahead of the expected unveiling of the
government's new National Anti-Drug Strategy, which omits funding to harm
reduction programs like Insite.
"This is a blatant attempt by the government to avoid the most controversial
consequence of cutting harm reduction out of Canada's drug policy," concluded
Elliott. "This is an irresponsible policy decision that's based on ideology rather
than on evidence. It's simply not in the public interest."
Among the existing evidence is research conducted by the British Columbia
Centre for Excellence on HIV/AIDS that clearly demonstrates that Insite has
lowered the rates of syringe-sharing, deaths from overdoses, and risk of HIV and
hepatitis C infection. The research has been published in leading medical
journals, including The Lancet, the New England Journal of Medicine and the
Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ).
Insite has earned the support of the Vancouver Police Department, local residents
and business groups, the City of Vancouver, and scientists and AIDS experts from across Canada and around the world.
About the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network
The Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network (www.aidslaw.ca) promotes the human
rights of people living with and vulnerable to HIV/AIDS, in Canada and
internationally, through research, legal and policy analysis, education, and
community mobilization. The Legal Network is Canada's leading advocacy
organization working on the legal and human rights issues raised by HIV/AIDS.
For more information, please contact:
Director of Communications
Telephone: +1 416 595-1666 ext. 228