Pubdate: Wed, 18 Jun 2008
Source: Huntsville Forester, The (CN ON)
Copyright: 2008 The Huntsville Forester
Author: Suzanne MacCarthy


Re: MP Stands by Insite Decision, letter to the editor, Huntsville 
Forester June 11th.

Mr. Clement's letter is highly subjective and based almost entirely 
on mistaken 'facts' and blatant narrow-mindedness. Clement's use of 
"apt analog(ies)," comparing medically guided fat intake to safe 
injection completely undermines and distorts all harm-reduction 
strategies, strategies that have been proven by the World Health 
Organization to pragmatically and realistically minimize the spread 
of IDU-related diseases (Department of HIV/AIDS, 2007).

Harm reduction is principled on meeting the most vulnerable 
populations "where they're at."  Insite brings health care to the 
downtown eastside and provides both primary and secondary 
preventative care to populations who would otherwise never receive care.

One point Clement managed to accurately state is that Insite 
"provides several functions;" including a detox center, on site, and 
a short-term housing facility. Operating together, these three 
facilities make up a complete comprehensive treatment system.

The BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS has been the sole research 
body to monitor and assess Insite. According to the Centre's 
findings, there is no "mixed science." Here is a snapshot of some of 
the centre's findings between 2004 and 2006:

Insite is leading to increased uptake into detoxification programs 
and addiction treatment (New England Journal of Medicine).

Insite is attracting the highest-risk users -- those more likely to 
be vulnerable to HIV infection and overdose, and who were 
contributing to problems of public drug use and unsafe syringe 
disposal (American Journal of Preventive Medicine).

Insite has reduced overall rates of needle sharing in the community 
(The Lancet).

I've been a front-line HIV/AIDS worker in sub-Saharan Africa and in 
Eastern Canada, and based on my extensive research and experience, 
not my political or religious ideologies, I can assert that harm 
reduction works. Before trampling on the Supreme Court's ruling to 
keep Insite open, look at the facts and the 1,000 lives that have 
been saved because people were using at Insite, not on the streets.

Suzanne MacCarthy, Vancouver
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom