Press Release  | 09/30/2011

Canada's Supreme Court Rules Safe Injection Facility Can Stay

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Site Has Reduced HIV Infections and Overdose Deaths and Improved Public Safety

Advocates: "This is a Victory for Public Heath, Science and Compassion" and "Time for US to Implement Similar Policies"

Canada's Supreme Court ruled unanimously today that North America's only legal drug injection facility can stay open. The program, named Insite, has provided a clean, safe place for people to inject drugs without fear of arrest and in the company of medical help. Despite the overwhelming evidence showing that Insite  reduced HIV and hepatitis transmissions, decreased overdose deaths, reduced crime in the area, and increased the number of drug users entering treatment, the program had faced a court challenge by Prime Minister Harper’s government. The ruling found that the benefits of providing a supervised injection facility for drug users far outweighed any possible harms and mandated that Insite be allowed to continue to operate.

Statement from Laura Thomas, California Deputy Director of the Drug Policy Alliance.

"This is a victory for science, compassion and public health – and, given the fiscal benefits of such programs, the Canadian taxpayer. The Supreme Court of Canada recognized that Insite saves lives, and that that should be a guiding principle in deciding drug policy.

“Congratulations to the advocates, drug users, researchers, nurses, and elected officials who have campaigned for Vancouver's supervised injection facility for so long. This is a complete validation of their work.

“For communities in the U.S. which have been hard hit by drug use, it is time to look at the evidence from Canada and start opening supervised injection facilities here. We look forward to implementing the same desire to save lives in the U.S."

Laura Thomas 415-283-6366 or Tommy McDonald 510-229-5215

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