Canadian Cops Oppose Safe Injection Sites

By McCarton Ackerman 01/13/12

Canada's police feel that legal drug consumption sites send mixed messages, despite the health benefits they provide.

Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair speaks
to reporters.
Photo via

The journal Substance Use and Misuse has published a survey showing police in Toronto and Ottawa are overwhelmingly opposed to safe injection sites—clinics where drug users can inject or otherwise use illegal drugs under the supervision of trained staff. The researchers interviewed 18 police officials in both cities, including Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair, who said: “The ambiguous messaging that comes out from a society that says you can’t use these drugs, they’re against the law—but if you do, we’ll provide a place to do it’s a little bit problematic when you’re trying to explain to young people about the consequences of illegal drug use.” Insite, located in Vancouver, is currently the only legally supervised consumption clinic in Canada. However, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled last year that it should be exempt from federal drug laws, which could lead to further such sites opening. Research shows that supervised consumption sites reduce OD deaths, curb the spread of infectious diseases and decrease the amount of drugs on city streets.

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McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.