Study Says Safe Injection Facilities Reduce Overdose Deaths
The Canadian government wants the doors closed at Insite, North America’s only safe injection clinic – and will argue their case starting May 12th in a Canadian Supreme Court hearing on the matter, but researchers looking into the clinic say that, politics aside, the clinic is a life saver.
At Insite, injection drug users are provided with clean injection equipment and a nurse supervised space to use drugs. Critics in Canada (with support from the US govt.) say that the service is tantamount to an endorsement of drug use and want the clinic shut down, but researchers say that the statistics prove Insite’s effectiveness as a harm reduction clinic.
Insite was set up with the mandate of reducing overdose deaths, reducing the spread of infectious diseases like HIV and increasing treatment participation, and by most any rational analysis, it’s been tremendously effective.
According to research just published in The Lancet:
- Drug overdose deaths have fallen by 35% in the area surrounding the clinic since its opening
- Although some 2000 drug overdoses have occurred at the facility, there have been no fatalities (due to the prompt medical attention)
Previous studies have proven that Insite reduces the spread of HIV and that it helps to get IV drug users off the street.
Insite user and decades long IV drug addict Gary Kyle summed up his feelings for the clinic, saying, “The nurse saved my life when I ODed…I’ve shot up in an alley, in the McDonald’s bathroom, the library, you name it. When I do it in public, I’m rushed and careless. At Insite, it’s safer.” Commenting on the health and cost savings of the clinic’s services, Kyle added that a previous OD, which occurred on the street, resulted in the services and intervention of police and paramedics – a trip to the ER and a stay in hospital.
Study researcher, DR. Thomas Kerr of the Urban Health Research Initiative at St. Paul’s Hospital, says that he hopes the latest study results will play a role in influencing judges at the upcoming Supreme Court trial, saying, “The Conservatives can no longer go around saying the evidence is unclear because the evidence is clear – Insite saves lives.”
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The Case for Harm Reduction
Some drug users are willing to get help but aren't ready to quit at this moment. Recognizing this, harm reduction programs exist to minimize the health, economic and social costs of drug use at the personal and community levels.Read the complete article