Wednesday, October 20, 2010

An Open Letter to George Smitherman on Safe Injection Sites

Dear Mr. Smitherman,

I recently announced that I support you for mayor of Toronto. With Rocco Rossi's departure from the race, and Rob Ford's divisive and reckless brand of conservatism taking centre stage, you present the only alternative to me.

However, I was disheartened to learn of your unfortunate and misinformed opinion of safe injection sites, which I reprint below. Especially disheartened, since you're a former provincial health minister.

"I do not support safe injection sites because I am not convinced of its merits," [George] Smitherman said.
I would like to hear your evidence for why safe injection sites lack merit. On this blog, I have profiled the benefits of safe injection sites, such as Insite - located in Vancouver.

Here are, once again, the merits of Insite, the Vancouver safe injection site.

  • 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)
If you could clarify to me why you do not support safe injection sites, that would be greatly appreciated.

Sincerely,
Me

1 comment:

Fred from BC said...
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