SAFE INJECTION IS WORKING: STUDY
Doubters have been proven wrong.
According to the latest study on Insite, the safe injection facility in the Downtown Eastside, the site is helping reduce the risk of HIV transmission.
"There was some doubt whether facilities like Insite only attracted older individuals, or those at low-risk of HIV and overdose,"
explained leading researcher Evan Wood, referring to the study by the Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS.
The study surveyed 400 active injection drug users and found those using Insite tended to be younger, daily users who were homeless or living in unstable housing and had a recent overdose experience. "Our study shows that Insite attracted the most at-risk drug users in the Downtown Eastside .. it's definitely an encouraging finding," he said.
And while Wood acknowledges Insite won't make drug addiction and related problems go away, he said there has been in increase in public order since the site opened in September 2003 amid a flurry of controversy.
"Each and every case of HIV infection costs the taxpayer $150,000 in medical costs alone. There's a huge burden on the health care system, and there is reason for all of us to be self-interested in looking for a solution to these problems," Wood said.
Vancouver Coun. Jim Green, who helped spearhead the Insite program, said yesterday he hopes this positive report will lead to more facilities like it.
"We're saving lives and we're cleaning up the neighborhood," he said.