Pubdate: Fri, 15 Apr 2011
Source: Metro (Toronto, CN ON)
Copyright: 2011 Metro Canada


Study to determine whether Toronto, Ottawa would benefit from sites
has been controversial from the start

Toronto business owners, residents, police and drug users say they
could support a supervised drug consumption site if it meant getting
drug use off city streets, according to preliminary results from a
long-expected study on the issue.

This is the first indication clean, staffed medical clinics where
addicts can inject or use illegal drugs, including heroin and crack
cocaine, could be used in the city to curb disease and substance abuse.

The early findings, to be presented Friday at a Toronto HIV
conference, show community members and other stakeholders are not
overwhelmingly opposed to supervised consumption sites.

In one of three studies to be presented, nearly half the people polled
felt strongly that supervised injection facilities should be made
available if the goal was to reduce disease.

"There were very few people who say they would never support a site,"
said Dr. Ahmed Bayoumi, a co-principal investigator of the study and
scientist at the Centre for Research on Inner City Health at St.
Michael's Hospital.

Currently, Insite in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside is the only
supervised consumption site in Canada.

It has been dogged by controversy since opening its doors in 2003, and
the federal government, which questions its usefulness, is trying to
shut it down.

The case will be heard by the Supreme Court of Canada in May.
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