Pubdate: Wed, 12 Oct 2011
Source: Ottawa Citizen (CN ON)
Copyright: 2011 The Ottawa Citizen
Author: Russell Maynard, Director, Insite Vancouver, B.C.


Re: Nothing safe about injecting drugs, Oct. 8.

Letter-writer Andre Bigras tries to leave the reader with the
impression that three Supreme Courts (a total of 13 Supreme Court
judges) could not adjudicate the copious research on Insite correctly.

Bigras is with the Drug Prevention Network of Canada (DPNC). The
DPNC's website tells readers that one of those key pieces of evidence
that the judges missed is that "The impartial federal government's
Expert Advisory Committee in its report in March 2008 concluded that
the drug injection site, which costs three million dollars annually to
operate, only (refers) three per cent of its attendees for treatment,
the latter is the only way that an addict can regain his/her health
and dignity and return to a normal life."

If the DPNC had called me I would have clarified that three per cent
was in the first couple of years of operation. That percentage has
grown every single year of Insite's operation. It is now approximately
30 per cent of the monthly visits to Insite. To clarify: close to 30
per cent of visits to Insite are to inquire, apply for, or access
recovery services. Conversely, the number of people coming to Insite
to use the injection services has dropped from approximately 90 per
cent in 2004 to approximately 60 per cent now.

There is no other public health project in this country, on this
continent, that even approaches that volume of referrals to recovery
services. Insite works!

Russell Maynard

Director, Insite Vancouver, B.C.
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MAP posted-by: Richard R Smith Jr.