CMA Journal article backs drug injection site

'We're calling on the federal government to drop the current action they have in the Supreme Court.'

Vancouver (1 Sept. 2010) - An article in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ) slams the Harper government for its efforts to shut down Insite in downtown Vancouver, Canada's only safe injection site for drug addicts.

"We've concluded after reviewing the evidence that Insite is doing what it's supposed to be doing, and furthermore that we're very concerned that the federal government has misled on the science," says Dr. Michael Rachlis, a professor of health policy at the University of Toronto.

Insite was established in 2003, when there was a Liberal government in Ottawa, but has been fighting for its survival since the Conservatives came to power in 2006.

The paper points out that soon after it was elected, the ideological Conservative government removed harm reduction as one of the four pillars of its National Anti-Drug Strategy. The four-pillar strategy, endorsed by the World Health Organization (WHO) also includes treatment, enforcement and prevention.

Two British Columbia court decisions have thwarted federal efforts to close Insite. In June, the Supreme Court of Canada gave the federal government leave to appeal the B.C. court rulings.

"We're calling on the federal government to drop the current action they have in the Supreme Court and to let local health officials, public and the local police get on and do their jobs in terms of dealing with the addiction problem," Rachlis told CBC News.

NUPGE

The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE

More information:
Canada's top court to decide Insite fate
Federal Tories want to appeal Insite ruling
B.C. Supreme Court keeps safe-injection site operating

Issues and Campaigns
Occupational Groups