NDP MP Libby Davies today, praised the numerous successes of InSite, Vancouver’s safe injection site, despite a recent critique of harm reduction strategies that attempts to contradict the large body of evidence supporting InSite as a life saving program.
The critique comes from the Drug Prevention Network of Canada, headed by former Conservative Member of Parliament, Randy White.
“Mr. White made it clear that he rejected the validity of harm reduction strategies, when we worked together in 2001, on the Parliamentary Committee on Non-Medical Use of Drugs, long before InSite even opened its doors. It comes as no surprise that he and his organization are trying to undermine the value of this program,” said Davies.
The scientific research on InSite was published in peer-reviewed medical journals such as the New England Journal of Medicine and the Canadian Medical Association Journal, and showed that InSite has led to increased addiction treatment, reduced overdose fatalities and the use of shared needles in the community. Stephen Lewis, Bill Clinton and the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation have all praised InSite as a global model for reducing HIV/AIDS transmission through needles.
“Despite the successes of InSite, the majority of federal spending on Canada’s Drug Strategy still goes toward enforcement, and not harm reduction, as the critique implies,” said Davies.
In its 2007 budget, the Conservative government removed harm reduction as a pillar of Canada’s Drug Strategy, and stated that it will spend most of the Strategy’s $63 million budget increase on enforcement measures.
“Above and beyond the scientific research, this program has been embraced by municipal government, local law-enforcement, local businesses and the general community who see the positive changes on our streets, and the reduced strain on our policing and health services,” said Davies. “Scientists and activists accept the positive findings from the study from InSite, and like so many Vancouverites, I’m proud that this effective program is part of our community,” added Davies.