Some things just need to be said...

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Does Stephen Harper have any inSite?

Harper is wasting much time. People running inSite in Vancouver are waiting, they are having to spend valuable time planning advocacy for their site to force a government to do the right thing. How much evidence does Stephen Harper need to make the right decision?

"I'm worried, from a public health perspective, about what will happen if the site closes," said Dr. Wood, an epidemiologist at the B.C. Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS and an assistant professor in the department of medicine at the University of British Columbia. "I think there will be such a backlash in Vancouver when we go back to the same patterns of needles in storefronts and people injecting in public in the tourist areas of Gastown, that British Columbia will probably not tolerate it for long." - Globe and Mail, August 26, 2006

The safe injection site is the picture of good science and healthcare. The users, the police, the business community, and the British Medical Journal and The Lancet and The New England Journal of Medicine have strongly supportive articles/reports on the success of inSite. For crying out loud even the Fraser Institute says safe injection sites are the right thing to do, at least they did before it was established. I suspect they still like it. Now the international scientific journal Addiction Behaviors has a report that strongly supports the need for inSite.

Governments often campaign from one point of view only to be elected and learn that they were wrong and reverse their decision. Steffanie A. Strathdee, a professor at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health recently told attendees to AIDS Conference in Toronto, “If the Canadian government closes this site, they will have blood on their hands.” (Georgia Straight, August 17, 2006) Strathdee was listed as one of the top 100 Canadians to watch in the 1997 edition of MacLean's Magazine.

A report by criminologist Irwin M. Cohen, commissioned by the RCMP to examine the site found no increased crime, did not attract dealers and injection users from other jurisdictions did not flock to Vancouver as was feared by police and local businesses befiore the site was established. - Seattle PI, August 16, 2006

Tony Lam, the president of the Vancouver Chinatown Business Improvement Association told Associated Press "...merchants in the historic neighborhood noticed drug activity is much quieter since the site opened. They don't get together in the back lanes or under the stairways to get injections, so the outside look of Chinatown is much (more) peaceful than before." - Seattle PI, August 16, 2006

All the groups that held reservations with inSite, the police, the BC Liberal Government and the Chinatown merchants, now support its continuation of opperations.

September 18, 2006 is the day inSite will close if Stephen Harper is too proud to do the right thing.