Friday, September 30, 2011

Victory for Insite

The Supreme Court's decision that Insite must remain open is a tremendous victory for reason over ideology. 

Canada's Conservative government sought to close a safe-injection site in Vancouver, despite physical evidence that it reduced drug use, reduced overdoses, and increased the likelihood of someone getting off of drugs.

It's a great triumph in the fight to ensure that addiction is treated like a health issue and not a crime.

Messrs. Smitherman and Clement ... take note.


MD said...

I'm ecstatic about the decision. The only thing you can count on with the Tories is that blind ideology will always trump public safety and peer reviewed science. Thank goodness for the Charter. Much like the prison tattoo parlours decision, pumping up the base is more important to the government than HIV and Hep C reduction.

Anonymous said...

Be ecstatic if you like but this may only be the beginning. Can there be any doubt about the arguement for private doctors?

I don't know about HIV but HepC is not reduced by the injection sites. The addicts who will end up with HepC already have long before they see yhe inside of a clinic.

MD said...

Actually Anon, the Hep C comment was referring mostly to the prison tattoo program, which the Tories shut down on coming to office before sufficient data could be collected to properly evaluate. Insite clearly has a benefit in overdose mortality, as published in the Lancet. It also provides a host of other data on the demographics of IVDUs and effectiveness of different strategies. I don't really follow what the private doctor argument refers to.

Anonymous said...

It has been deemed illegal to pay for a private doctor. Liberal Gov'ts have threatened to deny provinces health funding if they allow citizens to pay for their own doctor. It is called two tier health care.(It exists already to some extent.) The SCOC will eventually be asked to decide.It is difficult to believe they have much choice when they do.

MD said...

Anon, first I'm not really sure how private billing for insured services relates to the Insite decision. Second, the only related decision I can think of is Chaoulli in Quebec. If I remember, the justices found that the law violated the Quebec Charter, but not the Canadian Charter. Even then, the decisions were split. I'm a physician, not a lawyer, but the legal issues seem pretty complicated and it's not clear to me that don't "have much of a choice." My point with Insite is that ideology tends to guide the government decisions, not science.