Safe injection site praised in advance UN report
Tuesday, September 19, 2006
Countries facing exposive growth in HIV/AIDS due to injection drugs should consider implementing programs like those in Vancouver offering methadone replacement, needle exchange and safer injections, an advanced copy of a United Nations/Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation-sponsored report states.
While calling on countries in Eastern Europe, Asia, and Africa to, at the very least, start offering clean needle and drug treatment programs, which are proven to reduce HIV/AIDS risks, report authors concede research is still in its infancy when it comes to whether or not HIV/AIDS is actually reduced by centres like that in Vancouver where supervising nurses daily observe 700 addicts shooting up their own heroin or cocaine in safe and sterile surroundings.
The downtown eastside Insite supervised injection clinic was recently given a 16-month extension of its operating license by the federal government to prove whether it is an effective way to fight drug addiction. Health minister Tony Clement said the only thing research to date has proven is that "drug addicts need more help to get off drugs" but there is a paucity of published data to show whether safe injection sites fight addiction and reduce HIV/AIDS.
The report echoes that sentiment.
© Vancouver Sun 2006
CanWest Interactive, a division of
CanWest MediaWorks Publications, Inc.. All rights reserved.