The Effect of Safe Injection Sites in Vancouver, British Columbia
A safe injection site (SIS) has been placed in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside where drug use is a challenging problem. The program is a vital piece of the cities known harm reduction approach to its serious problems with homelessness, drugs, crime and AIDS. Canada has drastically shifted its method. Going from punishing drug users to establishing the plan of harm reduction. Since 2003 when the supervised SIS opened, it has presented a safe health-focused center where drug users have access to inject illegal drugs using sterile equipment in a clean environment under the supervision of medically trained professionals. Although there are some serious concerns about the facility. For instance, what is the effect it has on drug users participating in Insite? What is the effect it has on the population of Canada? What is the effect of Insite on future generations, and is the effects substantial enough to out weigh the cost? The research shows that the benefits out weigh any limitations.
Effects of Users Participating in Insite
No matter how dirty and scary they are, drug users are still human beings. They have feelings and have a dreadful disease called addiction. The thing that we must always remember when exploring this topic thought is that they are still people. For someonewho hasn’t lived through that experience is the exact reason that we cannot jump to conclusions. Its possible that these individuals did not chose that lifestyle and that it may take hold and destroy anyone, no matter his or her status in society. Insite has impacted drug users significantly. It provides a safe place for them to go to inject without having to be concerned whether or not the utilities they use are infected with diseases. A drug addict who identifies herself as Corky is a regular patient at Insite. She explains that “Being a working girl, it’s safe. You don’t have to worry about guys jacking you up for your dope,” she said. “Maybe it allows for self-esteem, maybe in the long run people will get off [of it] and you [will] start to feel more normal and get a semblance of respect.” (Corky et al,. 2003) This is the kind of impact that Insite has on drug users. Fifty individuals were interviewed and were asked the reasons for why they wanted to use this facility. It was revealed that many of the individuals found the SIS as a far more comforting and safe environment compared to other areas where drug injections occur, such as in the streets (Small et al., 2012). Not only do the nurses supervise the drug users but they also assist when there is an overdose and since the facility opened, despite the 1,000 overdose events, there has been no overdoses recorded (CBC et al., 2011). This study was made to determine whether the opening of Insite will reduce the deaths in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. The study found between 2001 and 2005, 89 fatal overdoses occurred within 500 meters of Insite. Which is a 35% decrease after Insite has opened. “People die every day – people shooting alone. They don’t have access to sterile supplies. People are using water out of alleys to mix dope with.” (Oleson., 2003). These sites not only provide safety for the patients but they also provide safety for citizens of Vancouver who are not participating in drug consumption.
Effect of Insite on Canada
With a SIS in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, it allows for drug users to come off the streets and inject in a clean and safe environment. This will create a significant impact on Vancouver citizens who do not partake in illegal substances. Studies have shown that Insite decreases the chance of spreading blood borne diseases such as HIV and AIDS because the facility provides free sterile equipment which includes syringes, alcohol, dry swabs, water, spoon/cockers and tourniquets (Kerr et al., 2012). The impact on Canada’s population is not exactly as direct as the population on drug users, but...
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