U.S. police chiefs tour Insite

April 16, 2010

Addiction and Urban Health Research Initiative
Topic(s): Harm Reduction, Illicit Drugs

BC-CfE researchers highlight clinical and social benefits of supervised injection facility

Dr. Julio Montaner

Dr. Julio Montaner presents to the International Association of Chiefs of Police conference on April 14

The British Columbia Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS (BC-CfE) provided senior U.S. law-enforcement officers with a unique first-hand look at the benefits of harm reduction this week.

Between April 13 and 15, approximately 30 police chiefs from all corners of the United States were guided through Insite, North America's first supervised injection facility, by BC-CfE director Dr. Julio Montaner and Dr. Thomas Kerr, co-director of the BC-CfE's Addiction and Urban Health Research Initiative. The chiefs, who were in Vancouver to attend a conference of the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), received an overview of Insite's history and operating procedures, as well as the opportunity to observe the injection room in use. The group also surveyed Insite's medical facilities and toured detox rooms in the adjacent Onsite.

Throughout the tours, Dr. Kerr and Dr. Montaner highlighted the many benefits Insite has brought to clients and the community. The BC-CfE's scientific evaluation of Insite has shown the facility significantly decreases overdose risk and HIV risk behaviour while promoting addiction treatment and improving public order. Insite has also been shown to link clients to vital medical services and improve safety for women who inject drugs.

Dr. Montaner reinforced the case for Insite's clinical and social benefits in a presentation to the IACP conference on April 14. In his remarks, Dr. Montaner highlighted new data confirming Insite's success in reducing overdose deaths in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside. He also stressed the important role played by the BC-CfE's Seek and Treat pilot project in reducing HIV transmission among injection drug users and other at-risk populations.

Dr. Montaner acknowledged the discomfort felt by many law-enforcement officials unfamiliar with supervised injection, but emphasized the overwhelming evidence base supporting Insite.

"What we're doing is reducing the harm to the individual and society – our data show that," said Dr. Montaner. "We've shown that every marker we have monitored has been improved. It's clear that Insite is saving lives and making a tremendously positive impact in the community. This is a valuable resource for addressing addiction and health issues in the Downtown Eastside, and we must continue to support it."

1 Comment
  1. zoca 11 years ago

    hey moe

    i have been to the site as well…and was in the area long before the insite..through the buildup to the gong show and the inudation of the dealers and the crack in the area and in the blood alley and around ..do not go much anymore but noticed a difference and was there infact the day it opened when the governer general was there..we all just thought all the cops in the area was a real heaty day keeping 6 but it was her in town..

     and it is a debate with issues on both sides just as strong but the facts as they are being presented in the reduction of the hiv/aids hepc epidemic thats was running ramopant in the area it seems to be dropping those numbers of new invections withthe mainliners in the nieghbourhood and thats got to be good for all parties concerned… And if the place can save just one life..then it is money well spent i think..if a friend or familly memeber of mine was living in the depths of that addiction its be good to know theres a place where they can be seen by nurses and they can feel safe and off those cruel streets of downtown eastside Vancouver..and would like to see this experiment go to other affected cities and areas

     

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