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Old 09-15-2003, 05:55 PM   #1
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1st safe injection site for heroine users in NA

Vancouver safe injection site

what are peoples opinions on something like this?
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Old 09-15-2003, 06:11 PM   #2
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If it works (that is, if users actually use the site), I think it's a good idea because it would get people into an environment where they could possibly help themselves. Heroin is possibly the most addictive drug on the planet, and most users never quit. This would at least help bring them off the streets, into a place that would not only prevent AIDS and other deseases from spreading as much, but where they could seek help. I don't see this as a place that would encourage drug use. Nothing is going to stop people from doing it, if they so choose (if addiction at this stage is even a choice). Further, I can't see average joe blow citizen walking by and thinking to himself, oh, let's try a little heroin today. I'm sure they have screening tests and so forth regardless. This is simply a way of managing the problem in a controlled environment, and making the streets safer for the users as well as the rest of the general public. As the article said, many countries in Europe have been doing this for years, and it has worked well there. It remains to be seen if it will work well here.
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Old 09-15-2003, 06:24 PM   #3
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As a matter of public health and safety, I support this, because in this day and age, with diseases like AIDS spreading like forestfire, it is just plain irresponsible to not attempt and limit the spread among the population where infection is rampant.

As for how many people will use it or what sort of success it will be longterm, that is difficult to predict. I hardly think a place where desperately addicted people come to is an inspiration to the rest of us to pick up the habit. That's just stupidity talking.
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Old 09-15-2003, 06:25 PM   #4
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This may work here. A friend of mine was addicted to heroin until her early death at age 32. She was just out there on the streets. Of course it's better never to start, but if you're an addict.......it's something to think about.
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Old 09-15-2003, 07:04 PM   #5
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Help me out here. Do they provide the heroin as well, or just the spoons and needles? If the addicts are bringing in the drugs, how do they know it's "safe" heroin?
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Old 09-15-2003, 07:09 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally posted by Michael Griffiths
As the article said, many countries in Europe have been doing this for years, and it has worked well there.
Out of curiosity, how do you measure the success of a safe injection site?
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Old 09-15-2003, 09:23 PM   #7
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There would have to be many factors taken into consideration, but the one that immediately springs to mind would be if the spread of AIDS/Hepatitus C, etc, were shown to be curbed as a result of such injection sites. Another measuring stick would be the increase or decrease in the number of users as a result of it.
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Old 09-15-2003, 09:56 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by BonoVoxSupastar
Help me out here. Do they provide the heroin as well, or just the spoons and needles? If the addicts are bringing in the drugs, how do they know it's "safe" heroin?
They do not provide the heroin. Heroin is still illegal in Canada (I'm not trying to be funny, lol). It should be noted that there was/is massive public support for this site. If anyone knows about the Eastside problem, they would know why. Here's an article which may shed more light on this:

http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmp...s&sid=81587690

VANCOUVER (AFP) - The first supervised heroin injection site in North America officially opened in this west coast Canadian city, with supporters saying it will likely help reduce drug overdose deaths.

Organisers of the initiative estimate that as many as 800 addicts a day will go to the site to shoot up, instead of using local back alleys.

Supporters hope the site will reduce the number of overdose deaths, already at 37 this year, and curb AIDS (news - web sites) and hepatitis infections among drug users.

"It's going to make a large difference," said Vancouver's Mayor Larry Campbell. "This is a historic day for Vancouver and a turning point in our approach to dealing with addictions."

There is massive public support for the site. Campbell, a former coroner and policeman, won a landslide election last year mainly on his drug platform.

The facility on Hastings Street is in the centre of a gritty neighbourhood known locally as the Downtown Eastside. The population of some 25,000 includes thousands of drug addicts and it is Canada's most impoverished neighbourhood.

Campbell cautioned that "no one should expect the Downtown Eastside drug scene to change overnight."

"However, in combination with other prevention, treatment and policing efforts, we hope to reduce drug related deaths, and see injection drug users get the health care, treatment and support they need to live healthier lives," he said.

The storefront facility is modelled on sites in some 50 other cities in Europe and Australia.

But in North America, which mostly regards addiction as a law enforcement rather than health issue, the site is extremely controversial.

Vancouver is being closely watched by some right-wing opposition politicians in Canada, who vehemently opposed the site, as well as drug authorities in the United States.


US drug czar John Walters, who earlier this year travelled to Vancouver to speak out against Canada's approach to drugs, called the injection site "state-sponsored personal suicide."

While the doors of the site officially opened Monday, it will be at least another week before users are able to access the facility.

The site has been organised by the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority.

Users will be attended by 16 nurses as well as several counselors, who will offer medical treatment, watch for overdose, and give advice about rehabilitation options.

Addicts, however, will have to bring their own drugs with them, which they still have to purchase illegally from street vendors.

The relaxation of Canadian drug laws does not include selling heroin to addicts.

The Vancouver facility was approved after heated debate in June by the Canadian government, after an 18-month investigation.

"We have to talk about (illegal drugs) as a health issue and not as a moral issue," said Liberal MP Paddy Torsney, chair of an all-party Special Committee on Non-Medical Use of Drugs, which unanimously approved a new national drug strategy aimed at prevention and education.

The Vancouver site is part of that national plan, and is funded by the federal and British Columbia provincial governments as a three-year research project and harm-reduction trial.
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Old 09-15-2003, 10:19 PM   #9
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Here's an informative article on how well it worked in Sydney, Australia:

http://canada.com/vancouver/vancouve...B-B00435BA1400

Australian safe-injection site a success

Frances Bula
Vancouver Sun

Monday, September 15, 2003

CREDIT: Will Burgess, Vancouver Sun Files

When the doors of the English-speaking world's first-ever legal injection site for drug users opened two years and four months ago in Sydney, Australia, no one could believe it was real -- least of all its medical director, Dr. Ingrid van Beek.

And many were uncertain about its future.

But van Beek got a couple of encouraging signs in the first weeks of operation that gave her faith that it would actually work in the way that people had hoped.

One was the young man who was the first drug user to come to the site the day it opened.

He'd never had any contact with health services at all. He just injected and left the first night, but came back the next day for referral to treatment.

"He's still there. We had a curious success with that very first client," said van Beek in an interview from the site this week.

The other small but telling incident ha Rating 2ened with police.

Staff saw two people a Rating 2ear in the site's doorway one night and then saw them slowly get dragged back by police.

A few minutes later, the two users were back.

Local police, not familiar with the location of the newly opened injection site, had nabbed the two after seeing them buy drugs nearby. But when the men turned over their small stash of heroin caps and explained they were on their way to inject at the site, police handed the caps back and sent them inside.

"That went around the community pretty fast," said van Beek. And, after that, there were no more questions about whether the injection site was really just a trap so police could watch who was going in and arrest people.

The more concrete signs of success came this spring, after a positive report from the site's scientific evaluation committee.

Their conclusions:

- The site was bringing in the kind of street-injecting users it had been set up to attract.

- It had likely prevented a small number of overdose deaths, although the committee emphasized that the main reason for a noticeable decline in overdose deaths in the previous three years was due to a decline in the heroin su Rating 2ly.

- Crime had decreased in the area, although that was also largely attributed to the downturn in heroin use.

- Public injections in the area had decreased, as had loitering in the vicinity of the site. Numbers of discarded syringes also decreased.

- Drug users who came to the site were more likely to start treatment for drug dependence than those who didn't.

- Almost 80 per cent of local residents and 63 per cent of local businesses su Rating 2orted the establishment of the injection site, while the proportion of those outright o Rating 2osed had dro Rating 2ed noticeably in the 18 months of the site's operation.

- Half of the residents and a third of the businesses didn't even know where the site was.

Of course, that doesn't mean there is no o Rating 2osition at all. Just over 50 per cent of people the evaluation team surveyed in 2002 said they believe the major disadvantage of the site is that it encourages drug use -- that was an increase from the 45 per cent who said that before the site opened.

And there has been sharp criticism from some public commentators and o Rating 2osition politicians that the amount of money spent to run the site for the first 18 months -- $4.3 million Australian, including the costs of legal bills -- is a criminal amount of money to throw away for so few benefits.

But the New South Wales government had decided, in spite of that, to extend the trial for another four years. After all, controversy is nothing new surrounding the site.

There had been years of public debate over setting up a site at all.

The idea got started in the 1990s after investigations into drug-related criminal activity and police corruption showed that there were many illegal shooting galleries operating in the Kings Cross area of Sydney.

Kings Cross, like Vancouver's Downtown Eastside, has been the epicentre of the city's largest illicit drug market since the 1960s, along with prostitution and gambling. Although only five per cent of the city's residents were located there, it generated 20 per cent of the ambulance calls for drug overdoses.

The New South Wales government started talking about a trial injection site in 1997, but it wasn't until 1999 that politicians decided they would su Rating 2ort giving it a try -- despite the o Rating 2osition of the federal government. Then there was more than a year of legal battles when the Kings Cross Chamber of Commerce went to court to stop it from opening. And the group that had originally planned to manage the site, the Sisters of Charity, were forced to withdraw under pressure from the Vatican.

"The whole thing was a saga. By the time we finally opened, we didn't believe it was going to ha Rating 2en," said van Beek.

In May 2001, shortly after a Supreme Court judge had ruled against the Chamber of Commerce, van Beek and her staff, now operating under the sponsorship of Australia's Uniting Church, one of the country's largest Protestant denominations, were facing a whole new set of problems.

The by-then gigantic entourage of media were so hungry to report on the opening that one newspaper crew even rented a hotel room across from the site, which sits among the area's sex-toy shops and strip clubs, to do round-the-clock surveillance.

Local businesses who had been involved in the court case were still adamantly o Rating 2osed and were preparing to set up teams to stand outside the site and watch who went in and out. A photography business next door even set up a camera trained on the door.

Drug users in the area had said they were dubious about using the site because they thought it might just provide a way for the police to spy on people and then arrest them.

And a change in the local drug scene had resulted in a shortage of heroin and a move to cocaine, which forced van Beek to change the rules for the injection site, stipulating that people only be allowed to inject once per visit.

While she felt obligated to protect both staff and clients from the consequences of someone on a protracted cocaine binge, she worried that the rule would drive users away.

In spite of all that, almost 4,000 users visited the site, which is now open 12 hours a day, for a total of 56,000 visits in the 18-month trial.

"Most of what we did seemed to work out," said van Beek.

The media disa Rating 2eared after the first couple of weeks and, once the public attention was gone, users started a Rating 2earing in numbers.

Police, who were one of the licensing authorities for the site, were cooperative.

"They were a little anxious, but by and large they were willing to give it a go. The reality was it took the pressure off them and allowed them to focus on drug su Rating 2ly," she said.

The cocaine users adapted to the new rule, circulating out of the building and back in again if they wanted to inject. And it actually ended up benefitting everyone, because forcing them to walk around the building allowed them to slow down their intake and allowed staff to monitor them for signs of drug-induced psychosis.

"The policy I thought would drive cocaine users away ended up becoming a therapeutic intervention."

And, says van Beek, even though it's not her main priority, the site actually contributed to public order.

"If anything, we cleaned up that place."

SYDNEY INJECTION SITE USERS

Total number of clients 3,782

Average age 31 years old

Average age started injection 19 years old
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Old 09-15-2003, 11:50 PM   #10
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I honestly don't know how I feel about this. Both of my parents were addicted to heroin from the time I was 5 years old until I was close to 30 so I'm pretty experienced in the lifestyle. I guess this would have been a better alternative to them shooting up in the car or in gas station bathrooms in front of me but I can't get past the fact of letting an addict legally use heroin. All I ever wanted them to do was stop using...I have a feeling that a place like this would have upped their usage by making it easier for them

This was in the days before AIDS though so I really hope this makes an impact.
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Old 09-16-2003, 02:39 AM   #11
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I don't support them at all. Kings Cross is no cleaner now than before.
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Old 09-16-2003, 11:49 AM   #12
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i hope there are cops waiting outside the doors to arrest all of those 800 people as they leave. how in the hell can a government help people shoot heroin? OK... fine... the heroin users will now be safer against diseases from shared needles. great... but there's a little side effect to this... THEY'RE USING HEROIN!!! Now if you want to give people a place where they can go get help to fight their addiction, without fear of being arrested, that I am all for. What is this really doing? OK fine... they won't overdose. Even if they don't overdose, heroin users still won't be able to live a long and productive life, unless they stop taking heroin. So the death might not be immediate, but using the drug will still eventually end your life prematurely. i don't get it. how are you fighting one certain death by promoting another? ok... you help fight the spread of aids by aiding the use of heroin? i guess you can make the argument that heroin users can give aids to non heroin users. but i still can't support a place that allows people to legaly use heroin. our goal shouldn't be containing drug use, it should be eliminating drug use.
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Old 09-16-2003, 11:58 AM   #13
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You know, after thinking about this issue since last night, I really have to agree with Headache on this. While I feel for the addicts and agree that we need to do something about AIDs & hepatitis, etc, I just can't condone letting someone use legally use heroin.

That drug completely dominated my childhood and my parents would have sold ME to by drugs if they could have gotten away with it...giving them a nice, clean place to shoot up wouldn't have done a thing to stop them from stealing and commiting crimes to support their habits...the Methadone program is proof of that. In fact, they might have increased their criminal behavior to buy more drugs if they had been provided syringes and a place to do it. And I can imagine that once the dealers realize there is a place like this, it wouldn't be long before they set up shop in the vicinity.

I just can't support this.
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Old 09-16-2003, 12:39 PM   #14
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think of the options

not very many will voluntarily go to a rehab center...if any at all. Usually, if they do, it's too late and they have some disease

so either...raid the streets and arrest all of them and throw them in rehab...or give them a safe place free of disease.

of course it isn't ideal, I don't think anyone is saying that. but there really isn't many other choices here. There comes a time when you have to stop thinking about legallity and start trying to protect these men and women to the best of your ability
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Old 09-16-2003, 01:02 PM   #15
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Is there a parking lot? Do you drive in. Shoot up. Wash hands. Then hop back in the car, high as a kite, and drive home. Or better, you wander off, high as a kite, to mingle w/ the general public. I wonder who lives next to it?
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