Pubdate: Thu, 04 Sep 2008
Source: StarPhoenix, The (CN SN)
Copyright: 2008 The StarPhoenix
Author: Ethan Erkiletian


In Drug injection facilities indirectly aid criminal acts (SP, Aug. 
25), Frances Farness-Petit asks relevant questions and raises valid 
concerns. She would do well to find out why so many residents and 
shop owners in Vancouver support Insite. She asks if it is even 
possible to buy these injection drugs legally. Insite staff are 
acutely aware that their clients don't obtain injection drugs via 
legal means. Frankly, that's not Insite's concern from a public 
health perspective.

Whether or not Insite exists, the drug retailers will ply their trade 
despite law enforcement efforts. There isn't a single demonstrable 
example of successful prohibition in even a relatively free nation.

Insite's purpose isn't to eliminate drug sellers, but to decrease the 
need for them by helping users kick the habit. It is also a good 
place to make sure that injection drug users don't simply die of an 
overdose behind your home in an alley.

There hasn't been a single overdose death at Insite. There have been 
overdose episodes, and so as a public health provider, the facility 
certainly has saved lives. Just as a clean needle exchange seeks to 
improve public health, Insite seeks to do the same via a more 
advanced approach.

Rather than aid dealers by providing a safe injection place for drug 
users, Insite does the opposite.

By referring patients to rehabilitation, it offers an environment 
where someone may kick the habit because they want the help to do so.

Instead of dreaming about a drug-free utopia, it may be wiser for 
Farness-Petit to accept that drugs are a part of our world and try to 
minimize the harm they can do to our society. Facilities such as 
Insite help us to achieve this, and should be well supported by the 
private community.

Ethan Erkiletian

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