Pubdate: Wed, 24 Jul 2013
Source: Calgary Herald (CN AB)
Copyright: 2013 Canwest Publishing Inc.
Author: Michaela Montaner


Re: "Vancouver's easy drug access may have helped kill Monteith," 
Licia Corbella, Opinion, July 19.

Licia Corbella's question regarding initiation of illicit drug use at 
Insite has already been independently evaluated. A study published in 
the American Journal of Public Health by researchers from the 
University of British Columbia in 2007 found that, on average, Insite 
users had been injecting for nearly 15.9 years prior to using Insite.

The study, which surveyed 1,065 individuals, found one person 
reported performing their first injection within the safer injecting 
facility and 14 other individuals had initiated injection drug use 
since the opening of Insite. All of them did not report performing 
their first injection within the facility.

By way of comparison, the study reported that, on average in 
Vancouver, approximately 100 street youth initiate injection drug use 
each year.

Instead of repeating research that has already been done, 
policy-makers, service providers, journalists and the public should 
be encouraged to work with researchers to take stock of what is known 
about problematic substance use and to develop evidence-based 
responses that improve the health and safety of individuals who use 
illicit drugs and the broader community.

Michaela Montaner, Vancouver

Michaela Montaner is a research assistant at the B.C. Centre for 
Excellence in HIV/ AIDS and communications coordinator for the 
International Centre for Science in Drug Policy.
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