Pubdate: Tue, 15 Mar 2016
Source: Metro (Toronto, CN ON)
Copyright: 2016 Metro Canada
Author: Jessica Smith Cross
Page: 3
Bookmark: (Supervised Injection Sites)


The man who's been called Canada's "most famous junkie" has a message 
for Torontonians: Don't get hysterical about supervised injection sites.

Dean Wilson was an injection drug user in Vancouver who used the 
supervised injection services of the Insite clinic in the Downtown 
Eastside. When the federal government tried to shut it down, he 
fought to save it. He went all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada 
in 2011 and won.

"If you clear all the smoke and mirrors away, it's just good 
medicine," he said.

Many people went the hysteria route in 2003 when Insite opened in 
Vancouver, he said, but they've since come around. Local business 
owners worried about a spike in crime and increased drug use, but the 
opposite has happened, Wilson said.

There are also benefits the public doesn't see: Users get access to 
health care through supervised injection sites, which means they 
require hospitalization less often, saving the public money, he said.

Supervised injection sites also give addicts access to help if, like 
Wilson, they reach a point when they don't want to use anymore. In 
his mid-fifties, after decades of drug use, Wilson went to Insite and 
enrolled in a detox program. It was possible, he said, because of the 
trust he'd developed in the supervised injection services over the years.
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