Friday, May 30, 2008

Then, Now & Now - Safe Injection Sites

Then, November 20, 2006 :

Vancouver's safe injection site is slowing down the spread of HIV and helping drug users quit their habits, a new study finds — but an expert suggested that Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his government won't want to hear those results.

The study, which appears Tuesday in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, says the three-year-old Supervised Injection Site in the Downtown Eastside has been a great success.

The injection site, which drew about 5,000 users in its first year of operation, is a place where people can safely go to inject illegal drugs while being supervised by nurses.

[Previously captured, Horror!]

Now [Insite, Research Results]:
The BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS is conducting the scientific research project, with the goal of assessing whether an injection site will reduce the harm associated with injection drug use to individuals and the community.

  • Insite is leading to increased uptake into detoxification programs and addiction treatment. (New England Journal of Medicine)
  • Insite has not led to an increase in drug-related crime, rates of arrest for drug trafficking, assaults and robbery were similar after the facility’s opening, and rates of vehicle break-ins/theft declined significantly. (Substance Abuse Treatment, Prevention, and Policy)
  • Insite has reduced the number of people injecting in public and the amount of injection-related litter in the downtown eastside. (Canadian Medical Association Journal)
  • Insite is attracting the highest-risk users – those more likely to be vulnerable to HIV infection and overdose, and who were contributing to problems of public drug use and unsafe syringe disposal. (American Journal of Preventive Medicine)
  • Insite has reduced overall rates of needle sharing in the community, and among those who used the supervised injection site for some, most or all of their injections, 70% were less likely to report syringe sharing. (The Lancet)
  • Nearly one-third of Insite users received information relating to safer injecting practices. Those who received help injecting from fellow injection drug users on the streets were more than twice as likely to have received safer injecting education at Insite. (The International Journal of Drug Policy)
  • Insite is not increasing rates of relapse among former drug users, nor is it a negative influence on those seeking to stop drug use. (British Medical Journal)


Over a one-year period, Insite made more than 2,000 referrals, with close to 40 per cent of those to addiction counselling. People using Insite are more likely to enter a detox program, with one in five regular visitors beginning a detox program. The facility also cut down on deaths from overdoses.

Of the 500 overdoses that occurred at the site over a two-year period, none resulted in a fatality. If these overdoses happened on the street, many of these people may have died.

Now, May 29, 2008:

The Bloc’s Christiane Gagnon, who, as you might recall, was thoroughly displeased by the chair’s opening remarks on the non-appearing witness, has a few questions for [Dr. Colin] Mangham. Like, for example, does he have any data to support his contention that the vast quantity of research that supports harm reduction policies is worthless?

Well, no, not exactly. He provided a “second opinion” on research produced by other people, to “critique” it, just like a first year university student would do.

So, what did he find? “Non-findings,” like the fact there hasn’t been a single death at InSite doesn’t actually mean that lives have been saved. Wait, what? Any graduate student in statistics, he says, would come to the same conclusion. What about a graduate student in medicine? Or psychology? Or public health?

[H/T, The Galloping Beaver]

Scientific evidence versus babbling froth. What has the Conservative Party come to?

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