A new study has found that supervised injection sites are a fiscally responsible strategy for reducing the spread of HIV and hepatitis C in Ottawa.
The report from researchers at Simon Fraser University recommends the establishment of two supervised injection facilities (SIFs) as an "efficient and effective use of financial resources in the public health domain."
According to the report, these facilities would avert 9 HIV infections and 88 hepatitis C infections each year in Ottawa. This would result in public health care savings of nearly $5 million. The cost of operating the two sites is estimated at $4 million.
"The local health officials, not the federal or provincial government, should make decisions regarding opening SIFs, based on the positive impact of SIFs in reducing injections in public, while lowering the overdose fatalities and infectious diseases," reads the report.
In reviewing the evidence from Insite, Canada's first supervised injection site in Vancouver, the study concludes that the facility has not increased crime, drug dealing, public injection, or public syringe disposal in the community.
The report echoes recommendations from a 2012 University of Toronto study, which also advised the creation of two supervised injection sites in Ottawa to prevent the spread of infectious diseases. The Supervised Consumption Assessment Study found that Ottawa has Ontario's highest rate of new HIV infection amongst injection drug users.
On Tuesday July 29 at 1:30, join Centretown CHC for a harm reduction meet and greet in Dundonald Park. Have a snack, play some games, make some art, and meet other people who live in the community. We'll see you there!
On May 7th, 2014, the Campaign for Safer Consumption Sites joins in the celebration of the first International Harm Reduction Day. International Harm Reduction Day is a day to promote evidence-based public health policies and practices and access to these services as a human right. Health services, including a wide variety of harm reduction services, are still not easily accessible throughout the world. To mark International Harm Reduction Day, we bring attention to the need for more accessible harm reduction services worldwide, and to Ottawa’s needs in particular.
Add your voice to the many others that are speaking out against Bill C-2 — a bill that will make it harder, if not impossible, for communities to provide needed health services including supervised consumption services. Please share this important video with your friends and family.
Get informed, sign the petition, and contact your MP. Don't let silence speak for you.
Recently, there's been a lot of discussion about supervised consumption sites in Ottawa. It's important to separate the FACTS from the MYTHS.
FACT: IF A SUPERVISED CONSUMPTION SITE OPENED IN OTTAWA, POLICE WOULD RETAIN FULL POWERS TO ENFORCE ALL LAWS THROUGHOUT THE COMMUNITY.
Only the inside of the supervised consumption site itself would be exempt from drug possession laws.
Ottawa Police Superintendent Tyrus Cameron dismissed the myth of restricted police enforcement around a potential supervised consumption site during a Lowertown Community Association meeting:
“There is no such thing as a 'No-go zone'. The Ottawa Police will enforce the Criminal Code everywhere in Ottawa. The community expects us to, so we will.” - Superintendent Cameron, Ottawa Police, Oct. 21 2013
In an article published by the Ottawa Sun, Inspector Scott Thompson of the Vancouver Police Department spoke about policing policy around Insite, Vancouver's supervised injection site:
There is no 'bubble zone'. The force “recommended” that officers direct users found injecting within a four-block radius to Insite to avoid future brushes with the law but they had “full discretion” to lay charges and seize drugs. - Ottawa Sun Interview with Insp. Thompson, VPD, Sept. 28 2013
The evidence from Insite in Vancouver – and from over 90 such sites around the world – shows that supervised consumption sites encourage cleaner, safer streets by helping to reduce public drug use and drug equipment litter. They're also proven to reduce the spread of diseases such as HIV, prevent overdose deaths, and improve access to addiction treatment programs.
Hedy Fry, MP for Vancouver Centre and Liberal Health Critic, sent this response to our letter calling on the health minister to take action to support the health of people who use drugs. Thank you Hedy for opposing the Conservative government's attempt to undermine the Supreme Court and hinder the creation of services like Insite in cities across Canada. People who live in Vancouver know how important Insite is to the health and safety of their community!
Thank you for your letter concerning Bill C-65, an Act to Amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, now Bill C-2. The first act of the Conservative government in this session was to reintroduce the “Respect for Communities Act”, which should be more appropriately named the “banning of safe injection sites bill” because of its negative impact on accessing safe injection sites for some of Canada’s most vulnerable citizens.. The Conservative government is acting on ideology rather than evidence.
The Bill exceeds the 2011 Supreme Court of Canada ruling regarding InSite, going well beyond the factors to be considered when granting an exemption of S.56 of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. Bill C-2 raises the criteria to establish a supervised injection site to such an extraordinarily high level that it would be nearly impossible for any future supervised consumption sites to be established in Canada. The Supreme Court ruling, keeping InSite open, was based on proof that InSite saved lives, citing Section 7 of the Charter of Rights and Freedom:, “life, liberty and security of the person”.
Furthermore, only an hour after the legislation was initially introduced, Conservative campaign director Jenni Byrne issued a crass and misleading fundraising letter to supporters stating that the Liberals and NDP want addicts to shoot up heroin in the backyards of communities all across the country. From this, it is clear that the intention of the Conservative government is to fundraise on the backs of some of the most vulnerable people in Canada, those with addictions and mental illness. Addiction is a disease that must be addressed primarily by clinical and public health guidelines.
As a physician, I support evidence-based policies that reduce harm, promote public health and protect public safety. I believe that supervised consumption sites form an integral component of such policies.
On online survey conducted by the Ottawa Sun has found that a majority of respondents believe that Ottawa should have a supervised injection site for people who use drugs.
The survey, which was published on the daily newspaper's website from September 30 to October 5, 2013, posed 9 questions on readers' opinions toward supervised injection services and their effects on the community.
Of the 1,794 people who responded, 56% indicated that Ottawa should open a site, while 51% said that they would accept a site in their own neighbourhood. 58% said that they believed such a site would either not impact or increase the safety and well-being of the surrounding area. (Full results here.)