Pubdate: Wed, 03 May 2006
Source: Vancouver Courier (CN BC)
Copyright: 2006 Vancouver Courier
Authors: Evan Wood, Julio Montaner, and Thomas Kerr


To the editor:

The Vancouver-supervised injection site, known as Insite, is being
evaluated by scientists from the B.C. Centre for Excellence in
HIV/AIDS. All findings from the evaluation have been subjected to
external peer-review and publication in the medical literature before
sharing them with the public.

MLA Lorne Mayencourt's suggestion that the evidence coming out of
Insite's evaluation is "spotty at best" (Sullivan to discuss drugs
with Harper," April 18) illustrates his limited understanding of the
results of the Insite evaluation to this date. In fact, the findings
of the Insite evaluation have been published in some of the most
prestigious international medical journals, and what follows is a
portion of the published findings from Insite's evaluation:

- -Insite has attracted those drug users who were formerly most likely
to inject in public and be at highest risk of HIV infection and
overdose death (American Journal of Public Health, 2005 Aug;

- -The opening of Insite was followed by statistically significant
reductions in public drug use and publicly discarded syringes
(Canadian Medical Association Journal. 2004 Sept. 28;

- -Use of Insite has been associated with reduced syringe sharing and
other forms of HIV risk behavior (Lancet. 2005 July 23-29;

- -Insite has also been a key referral mechanism to addiction
treatment and other community resources including abstinence-based
programs (Drug Alcohol Depend. 2005 Dec. 12; 6(238):51-54).

- -Insite's opening has not been associated with increased drug use or
other drug problems (British Medical Journal. 2006 Jan

Mayencourt's suggestion that drug users think that Insite is "a joke"
is also inconsistent with the fact that an average of 600 injections
take place within the facility each day. Among 1,082 Insite users who
were recently surveyed, 95 per cent rated the overall quality of
service as "excellent" or "good," while only five per cent chose
"fair" or "poor." Mayencourt's comments are not representative of the
position of the provincial government, which has shown a great deal of
courage and leadership in supporting the objective and unbiased
scientific evaluation of this innovative harm reduction strategy.

Drs Evan Wood, Julio Montaner, and Thomas Kerr, B.C. Centre for
Excellence in HIV/AIDS. 
- ---
MAP posted-by: Richard Lake