Vancouver Has Pioneered a People-First Approach to Drug Issues

In North America, there is exactly one place where it is legal for the public to use illicit drugs: Insite, a supervised injection facility in Vancouver, Canada.

The space is a place where people can self-inject their own drugs in a safe, supervised environment using clean equipment. There is no threat of being arrested, and the people who work there are trained to respond in case of an overdose. Staff also help people access primary care, detox services, addiction treatment, housing, employment, and legal services. As the first supervised injection facility on the continent, it embodies the highest ideals of harm reduction.

Insite joins the nearly one hundred injection sites around the world that treat drug dependence as an issue of public health rather than criminal justice. Liz Evans, founder and former director of PHS Community Services Society, has seen firsthand the lives saved by this kind of pragmatic approach. It’s a people-first solution that she hopes will be featured this April at the UN General Assembly Special Session on drugs, an event that could help turn the tide against punitive drug policies.

By accepting drug use as a global reality rather than something to be wished away, facilities like Insite are serving as a model for what harm reduction can achieve.

10 Comments

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it would be great to have such an environment inject in safety i would love it

Based on my knowledge and life experience I observed that the sharpest medical, legal and political minds consider drug addiction a medical condition and not a criminal act when it comes to be applied to their family but a criminal act when it comes to someone else family. We together can't continue to treat others children differently then ours children..We all need to see the light and call a doctor and not a policeman to treat and save our children's.

Amazing and humane approach to keeping people safe and hopefully reaching out to those in need of help and ready for help.

Most creative approach, considering that one is really dealing with a health problem than anything else. Thus, start where they are and and move with them towards change.
There is also a good practice that the UN group should know. that is the work the President of Colombia is doing with drug dealers to reduce crime and terrorism in his country. Both combined, the world can reduce drug peddling and use remakeably.

Absolutely beautiful video. Thank you.

In the world where life free of sickness, traumas and all the rest of inconveniences that happen every day, is regarded a pure luck, every different approach that can help everyone in misery, plants, animals, people is a great step onwards.

been waiting for this thanks

This is a great idea.Can it be replicated in other parts of the world especially the coastal parts of kenya?

Altruistic responses like this from those in power - politicians and Big Pharma - who benefit from drug money, jail profits, and corporate sponsorship of hardships are the FIRST to push for a new way to spend tax dollars that do NOT help the sick and weakened. Drugs would not be in your country if profits were not so high. Push for a halt to the 1% - not an expansion of their control.

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