December 12, 2013
Montreal will soon be home to four supervised injection sites for intravenous drug users — a huge victory for harm reduction in Canada. In 2003, the first supervised injection facility in North America was opened in Vancouver, B.C. under the name of Insite. For the past 10 years, Insite has remained the lone supervised injection facility in North America, providing assistance to thousands of injection drug users in the Downtown East Side while struggling to continue operating in face of federal government opposition.European report on drug consumption rooms - European Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug Addiction (2004)
Since its opening, Insite has been the focus of more than 30 studies published in peer-reviewed journals which have shown a wide array of benefits such as a reduction in drug-related crime, increased use of addiction treatment services, a decline in overdose deaths and the sharing of syringes, the prevention of dozens of new HIV infections each year, and a net-societal benefit of millions of dollars annually. In Europe, supervised injection facilities have largely gained acceptance, with several European countries now operating such facilities.
During the years since Insite first opened there has been a lot of talk about opening new supervised injection sites in other Canadian cities, with cities such as Montreal and Toronto being frequently mentioned. There is a clear need for these facilities in cities all over Canada — In a survey of injection drug users in London, Ontario published last month in the London Free Press, it was revealed that drug users in London are sharing needles and contracting Hepatitis C at rates much higher than the national average.
Montreal to get 4 supervised injection sites
Insite - Final Report of the Expert Advisory Committee - Ministry of Health, Government of Canada (2008)
Findings from the evaluation of Insite - Urban Health Research Initiative & British Columbia Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS (2009)
Summary of findings from the evaluation of a pilot medically supervised safer injecting facility - Canadian Medical Association Journal (2006)