facebook twitter RSS
HOT TOPICS: Drug and Alcohol Treatment  Heroin

Canada's Supreme Court Saves Controversial Safe-Inject Clinic

After a decade-long battle, a Vancouver clinic that allows IV drug users to safely shoot up is rescued by Canada's top court.

Image: 

Users at the Insite clinic Photo via

By Jed Bickman

09/30/11

| Share

This morning, Canada's Supreme Court ruled that the government cannot shut down a safe-injection clinic in Vancouver—the first legal facility of its kind in North America. Cheering crowds gathered outside the Insite drug clinic in the city’s Downtown Eastside today to celebrate a decision that marks the end of a drawn-out legal battle between the clinic and the government—with the clinic's survival now guaranteed. Insite provides a space where drug users can bring in their own street drugs and inject them in a safe, controlled setting, supervised by nurses. A study published this April found that overdose deaths in the neighborhood have dropped 35% since Insite opened its doors in 2003. Until now, the clinic has been operating thanks only to a series of legal exemptions. However, the federal government decided to fight the most recent exemption in 2008—and Canada's then-Health Minister Tony Clement declared to reporters that the clinic was “an abomination.” With the Supreme Court decision pending, the mayor of Vancouver, Gregor Robertson, wrote an open letter to the federal government to drop its legal proceedings, saying that “for many, access to Insite is literally a matter of life and death.” Mark Townsend, the executive director of Portland Hotel Society, which runs Insite, said that as well as preventing overdose deaths, Insite helps addicts consider rehabilitation and prevents the transmission of infections. Before Insite, he believes, “being an addict was a death sentence.”        

Rehabilitation Directories

Most Popular
Sober Living
How I Forgave the Woman Who Helped My Son Die of an Overdose

She introduced him to the drug that eventually killed him. It took a long time, but eventually I had to treat her the way my son would have wanted.

The Rehab Review
Cliffside Malibu
 
 
 
 
 

The “beach-house-relaxed” Cliffside Malibu claims to provide an oasis for recovering addicts and alcoholics. And that’s just what you'll get—if you’ve got the cash.

Morningside Recovery
 
 
 

For a “rehab near the beach” experience that isn’t quite as costly as similar SoCal competitors, head to this Newport Beach treatment facility.

AToN Center
 
 
 
 

Whether you’re interested in the 12 Steps, SMART Recovery, or holistic treatments, this luxurious San Diego rehab has a program for you—if you can tear yourself away from “the most amazing massages ever."

The Ultimate Guide to Rehab
 
 
 
 
 

What you need to know when choosing an addiction treatment center.

the fix tv