IFCS HomeInSite for Community SafetyImportant Facts
Supporting a Safer Vancouver

The Community

Gregor Robertson
Mayor of Vancouver


"As a key component of our City's Four Pillars Drug Strategy, research confirms that InSite connects people to treatment services, counselling and medical help, at the same time as it reduces crime. The science in favour of InSite is clear, and as long as we have people suffering from addiction on our streets we need harm reduction options in place." Vancouver Observer, January 15, 2010 (read more)


Gordon Campbell
Former British Columbia Premier
Former Vancouver Mayor


"We think [Vancouver's Supervised Injection Site] is a positive step, and we believe it should continue. We have let the federal government know that," Globe and Mail, August 16, 2006 (read more)


Kevin Falcon
British Columbia Minister of Health


"I'm disappointed (about the Federal government's decision to take InSite to court for a third time) because this is a program that has received very widespread
independent medical journal support for the outcomes and the efforts they are making
on a medical basis to treat some of the most difficult addicts you can imagine...I would really encourage (Federal Justice Minister Rob Nicholson) to read the medical journals that have independently evaluated the program and have shown, in a very comprehensive way, that it is achieving results" The Canadian Press, February 9, 2010


George Abbott
Former British Columbia Minister of Health


"I'd say that I'm quite encouraged by the results that we have seen to date from the supervised injection site. We have a range of information. Actually, it's very interesting information [...] there are a lot of interesting results that have come out of that work to date. By and large, the results are of an encouraging nature, so I'm certainly supportive of that continuing." - BC Legislative Assembly, May 10, 2006
(read more)


Michael Ignatieff
Federal Leader, Liberal Party

michael ignatieff.jpg

"I think what the Conservatives ought to be doing now is funding harm-reduction strategies instead of paying for more lawyers..they should accept that harm-reduction strategies are an essential part of any substance-abuse strategy and should not appeal this further." Injection site can stay open BC Court rules, The Globe and Mail, January 15, 2010 (read more)


David Emerson
Former Federal Cabinet Member, Conservative Party


"I am an advocate of some of those things which have been proven to be successful and can pass rigorous tests in terms of whether it is good use of taxpayers' money," Emerson wants safe-injection site to remain open, Globe and Mail, July 23, 2006 (read more)


Sam Sullivan
Former Mayor of Vancouver

sam sullivan.jpg

"We strongly believe that [Vancouver's Supervised Injection Site] plays an important role in not only reducing harm to those who are drug addicted, but also reducing harm and costs to our communities," CBC, September 1, 2006 (read more)


Larry Campbell
Senator, former Mayor of Vancouver and Chief Coroner for British Columbia


"[InSite] has surpassed all expectations we had. We've seen a [positive] difference in the number of people injecting in the street. We've seen a change in the [Downtown Eastside] street-scape. We've seen a drop [in the area] in HIV and hep C. Those are major changes, but they are very preliminary. I hope they [can] continue."


Philip Owen
Former Vancouver Mayor


"After traveling to five international drug policy conferences and talking with experts from Europe, Afghanistan, Australia and South America, I know safe injection sites are a huge success. They all say, "We wish we'd done it sooner and had more." There are over 45 cities with 85 safe injection sites with a proven track record over 15 years of improving public health and public safety."


Jamie H. Graham
Former Chief Constable, City of Vancouver Police Department


"My staff has been working on the front-line with the VCHA to ensure that both enforcement and health related goals are addressed in this project. We plan on continuing in the spirit of cooperation to create a more safe and healthy community." (read more)


Libby Davies
Member of Parliament, Vancouver East


"The research shows that InSite is leading to an increase in users who choose to enter detoxification programs and addiction treatment, and that 453 overdoses have resulted in no fatalities thanks to the availability of qualified medical staff." (read more)


Dr. Hedy Fry
Member of Parliament, Vancouver Centre

"As a physician, I know that addiction is a medical problem. Delivery of medical services is a provincial jurisdiction. Where that service is delivered can be deemed a facility. Obviously InSite is such a facility. InSite saves lives. No amount of ideology can change that fact. To deny life saving services to a patient is unconscionable.." (read more)


Joyce Murray
Member of Parliament, Vancouver Quadra

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"Insite is a humane effort to improve the safety and health of Vancouver's most addicted drug users. By connecting those with key services such as medical care and counseling Insite bring the possibility of detox and long-term rehabilitation within reach. Our Canadian values of compassion and human dignity, couple with Insite's proven community health benefits, should compel all public decision-makers to support their important work." November 4th, 2010


sun.jpg Editorial Board

"Ottawa has already spent a significant amount of taxpayers' money attempting to scuttle what has proven to be an effective healthcare service. Yet the Harper government has repeatedly expressed interest in providing treatment services for drug addiction. If this is so, the government can make it a reality by taking the money they would spend on an appeal and earmarking it instead for services that will help those battling substance abuse."
Feds should not appeal InSite decision, Vancouver Sun, January 20, 2010 (read more)

gam_flag_leaf.jpgEditorial Board

"The war on drugs came to Canada, and it picked on a bunch of desperately ill addicts. Some war. Boldly, B.C.'s highest court, and before that a trial judge, have let Ottawa know that any war on drugs fought in this country should not endanger the right of addicts to get life-saving health care."Courageous court, obtuse government, Globe and Mail, January 16, 2010 (read more)


Penny Ballem, MD
City Manager, City of Vancouver

"The VCH has been working with our government and community partners to address the social, economic and human impacts of addiction. This project is an effective part of the harm reduction strategy of Downtown Eastside and should be continued." (read more)


Alan Lowe
Former Mayor of Victoria

"I feel three years is insufficient time to establish the broader strategy of prevention, outreach, treatment and rehabilitation, research, surveillance, knowledge dissemination and national leadership and coordination. I believe an extension of the section 56 exemption would allow the Vancouver SIS to continue to research effective strategies to reducing communicable diseases, serious medical complications associated with injection drug use, as well as limiting public consumption of drugs and improving public order." (read more)


Samuel Chan
CEO, Chinese Cultural Centre of Greater Vancouver

"Since the establishment of the SIF, the public spaces of Chinatown and the surrounding communities have shown a marked improvement. The supervised injection facility has reduced public disorder dramatically and help people living with addiction by making it safer for them and their communities. I feel the capacity of the program should be expanded..." (read more)


Kenneth Kwan
Chairman, S.U.C.C.E.S.S.

"I believe that a good continuum of care strategy, which includes the Supervised Injection Facility as a means, will eventually yield tremendous benefit to the individuals and the community, economically, socially and in health." (read more)


Noam Chomsky

"Though I cannot claim any special expert knowledge in this area, my understanding is that [InSite] has been a highly successful program, dealing effectively with the very serious problems of addiction and its harmful effects on the individuals and on society in general. I would like to join those who are urging that their request be granted."


William Booth
Executive Director
AIDS Vancouver

"As Executive Director of one of Canada's oldest AIDS service organizations, it is of utmost concern that the harm reduction initiatives provided by the Supervised Injection Facility continue. This facility plays a fundamental role in preventing the spread of HIV." (read more)


Albert Fok
Chair, Vancouver Chinatown Merchants Association

"As an individual who has been involved in community work for over a decade; and as a property and business owner, please allow me to state my opinion that the benefits of [InSite] have been demonstrated throughout Vancouver's Downtown Eastside community." (read more)


Paul Lewand
Chairperson, BC Persons With AIDS Society

"We at BCPWA know - some of us from direct personal experience - that the InSite Supervised Injection Facility works. And it works in a realm and with a population in and with which almost nothing else does. Without renewal of the CDSA exemption, and of the financial support previously extended, by the federal Government, InSite will close. Plain and simple. And that would be a very great tragedy." (read more)


Colleen Hua
National President, Chinese Canadian National Council

"The Supervised Injection Facility in Vancouver has demonstrated its abilities to bring stability and encourage redevelopment in the Chinatown/Strathcona neighbourhood. CCNC supports the special exemption as a human rights issue. While we do not encourage drug use, we understand that drug users should be given the safer option to carry out injection with clean needles under the supervision of health professionals. This allows medical emergencies to be attended to in a timely fashion in a clean and safe environment and helps to prevent and slow down the spread of diseases such as HIV/AIDS." (read more)


Dr. Alex Wodak
Director, Alcohol and Drug Service
St. Vincent's Hospital, Darlinghurst, Australia

"The Supervised Injection Facility in Vancouver has been established with great care and thoughtfulness. Even more important, it has been subjected to intense scientific scrutiny and evaluation, resulting in the publication of 20 scientific papers in prestigious journals. I have read almost all of these papers. They demonstrate that there have been substantial benefits from the Supervised Injection Facility and no serious unintended negative consequences."(read more)


Eugenia Oviedo-Joekes (PhD)
Addiction Researcher
Andalusian School of Public Health

Manuel Romero-Vallecillos
Addiction field work coordinator
20 years working in social intervention
Andalusian School of Public Health

Joan-Carles March (PhD)
Principal Investigator of the Andalusian heroin prescription programe
Andalusian School of Public Health

Emilio Perea-Milla (PhD)
Chief of Research Departement
Costa del Sol Hospital

"Canada is a model society as regards public health policies, and many of us consider your country a reference point and an example to follow. Despite the political difficulties involved in such initiatives, Canada has put into practice daring, innovative projects in North America, such as the heroin prescription trial in Montreal and Vancouver, and the SIF in Vancouver, which reveal your country's sympathy towards those who have lost everything and who are ignored by many." (read more)


Brent C. Olson
Recovering addict

"I believe that the Vancouver Supervised Injection Site should remain open. Myself, I am one week shy of 10 months clean & sober, and have a lot of gratitude for the InSite, as I had been injecting in alley ways and peoples bathrooms etc. I'm almost 100% sure I would not be here to write this letter."


Professor Ernest Drucker
Montefiore Medical School, New York, NY

"With its well-documented success, InSite is becoming a beacon - a workable model for municipalities all over the world, many of which are now adapting it to their own needs." (read more)


Nichola Hall
Grief to Action: Association of families and friends of drug users

"Every addicted person is someone's son or daughter. As a parent I am grateful that Vancouver cares enough to give our children somewhere safe to inject, so that they can stay alive long enough to access the health care system when they are ready."


Caitlin Johnston
Co-Chair Asian Society for the Intervention of AIDS (ASIA)

"ASIA supports without reservation InSite, the pilot project providing safe injection facilities. The work that InSite is undertaking in the area of drug use treatment, prevention, and harm reduction can only offer positive solutions to a community that is in need of new innovative solutions to problems presented by drug use." (read more)


Dr. Ronald Joe, MD

"In my work visiting the most vulnerable of people, struggling to live a hopeful life in their tiny hotel rooms in the inner city, I have come to understand that we must, whether we are policy makers or clinicians, meet people where they are today and not where we would want them to be. The supervised injection facility does not "give in to addiction" in any way; it is a social investment in the most vulnerable. This program creates an opportunity for people to be on the threshold of a successful life, by keeping them alive another day." (read more)


Barry L. Beyerstein, Ph.D.
Professor of Biological Psychology, Simon Fraser University

"There are no panaceas for societies' drug-related ills, only what the drug policy expert Prof. Arnold Trebach calls "second-order solutions," ones that will help turn a disaster back into a problem. Vancouver's Safe Injection Facility has proven that it can be an effective arm of such a solution. Not only are the drug users better off as a result, we in the rest of the community reap tangible benefits as well." (read more)


The Members of the Australian Parliamentary Group for Drug Law Reform

"We offer our strong support for the continuation of the Vancouver Injecting
Facility, noting that the community, families and drug users require our
active, practical, compassionate support." (read more)


Sid Chow Tan, President
ACCESS Association of Chinese Canadians

"Research has shown that this facility is invaluable for the renewal of the surrounding neighborhoods, including Downtown Eastside, Chinatown and Gastown in Vancouver. As well, it is also a cost effective wat to prevent drug overdoses, the spread of disease and unnecessary death and suffering." (read more)


Thia Walter, Downtown Eastside Organiser and Mother

"My dear son is still lost to his addiction, still homeless and hungry most of the time. I
don't know if he will ever be free of this terrible affliction but I do know that if he
continues to have access to clean equipment and non-judgmental medical care he may
live long enough to keep trying.

The public here has seen and knows what other citizens in other countries have proven
for years. Supervised Injection Sites are the first steps in treating a problem that can be controlled and with God's guidance will one day be cured." (read more)


Dr. Penny Gurstein
Professor, School of Community and Regional Planning and Centre for Human Settlements, UBC

"the research has demonsrated that there has been no increase in crime, public disorder, littering and drug dealing near or in the facility resulting in no negative impact on the community. In fact, all measures of public disorder have declined..." (read more)


Dr. Martin T. Schechter
Professor and Head
Canada Research Chair in HIV/AIDS and Urban Population Health

"The evidence is now clear that safe injection facilities offer an important avenue to prevent the most devastating consequences of injection drug use, namely lethal infections such as HIV and death. Because these facilities are utilized by the most difficult-to-reach individuals, they provide a critical window of opportunity that might not exist otherwise to bring such people into contact with preventions and treatments." (read more)


Pastor Dean Davey
Friendship Baptist Church

"In serving as clergy in the Greater Vancouver area the past 14 years, and overseeing teams who feed and clothe the homeless of Vancouver Eastside once a week for the past eight years, I have witnessed the need for a credible facility where people can inject in a safe environment. It is truly heart breaking to see people openly injecting drugs in alleys and dumpsters and something needs to be done. I am very concerned about addiction issues overal that I commonly must deal with as a Senior Pastor. I am convinced that the only way forward is through a compassionate approach that engages people who struggle daily with their addictions. For the people living in the Eastside, the supervised injection site is a program that in many ways embodies this compassion." (read more)


Canadian Aboriginal AIDS Network
Canadian AIDS Society
Canadian AIDS Treatment Information Exchange
Canadian HIV/AIDS Information Centre, Canadian Public Health Association
Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network
Canadian HIV Trials Network
Canadian Treatment Action Council
Canadian Working Group on HIV and Rehabilitation
Interagency Coalition on AIDS and Development

"Discontinuing this remarkable service would be a step backward for Canada's response to HIV/AIDS. InSite has proved that supervised injection facilities are effective and essential in fighting HIV/AIDS, minimizing the harms of drug use, and fulfilling the right to health of some of the community's most disadvantaged people." (read more)


Dr. Gabor Mate

"The SIS is a link--for some their only link-- between their street lives and the health care system and, for many, it is one of the first institutions they have encountered where they feel treated in a supportive, humane way. For the physically and emotionally wounded people they are, that is no small matter." (read more)


George Chow
Vancouver City Councillor

"As past President of the Chinese Benevolent Association of Vancouver and current City Councillor, I am keenly aware of the debates surrounding the establishment of the SIF. However after three years, I am please to say that the intitial fears of the community - re potential increase in crime and public disorder - have not materialized. In fact, with the help of health professionals and the Vancouver Police, the SIF has brought about a decrease in overdose deaths, public injection and discarded syringes, as well as other community benefits such as disease prevention and treatment referral." (read more)


Henry Davis, Ph.D

"As a social experiment, the Supervised Injection Facility has been a resounding success. Since its inception, it has been subject to intense scrutiny from medical and law enforcement professionals, as well as from local businessmen and politicians, the media and the general public. There is almost totally unanimity from these diverse perspectives that the facility has met its objectives - to decrease death, disease, crime and human misery in Canada's poorest neighbourhood. At the same time, it has saved government and social service agencies in terms of time, money, and human resources. There are no negative side effects." (read more)


Pierre J. Plourde, M.D., FRCPC
Winnipeg Medical Officer of Health

"In my professional opinion, the evidence clearly demonstrates the positive impact of
InSite, both in improving public health and in decreasing crime. Although we do not yet have a supervised injection facility in Winnipeg, we are closely observing InSite's ongoing successes and the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority is supporting similar harm reduction practices." (read more)


Bethany Jeal BScN., RN
Vancouver Coastal Health Authority

"Research has shown evidence to support the services provided at InSite, specifically with regards to the prevention of the spread of infectious diseases like HIV and Hepatitis, and the reduction of overdose deaths. To date, the published number of overdoses at InSite is 453, each of these having a positive outcome as there have been zero deaths at InSite." (read more)


Dan Zuberi
Assistant Professor of Sociology
University of British Columbia

"Several peer-reviewed journal articles demonstrate that the InSite Supervised Injection Site experiment has demonstrably saved lives by preventing the deadly consequences of drug overdoses. The onsite medical staff have reduced the need for emergency room visits by addicts experiencing an overdose, thus easing the burden on an overloaded ER system in the health care system. In its short period of operation, it has also improved the quality of life for residents of the Downtown Eastside community and for the city of Vancouver more generally. InSite is a dramatic social experiment, but it is one that is working, and is being watched for potential replication across North American cities and globally. (read more)


Roy R. Jeal, Ph.D.
Professor, Booth College

"Many injection users do get off drugs and stay off them using the Safe Injection Site approach. Those who do not stop using drugs do experience improved physical, social and spiritual health. Reduction in harm leads to reductions in the levels of health care and social services required, and to reduction in the human pain and misery caused by substance addiction. The benefits are clear and they are morally correct." (read more)


Professor Yuet W. Cheung, Ph.D.
Department of Sociology,
The Chinese University of Hong Kong

"In the past three years, there has been a tremendous amount of professional and academic assessments of the project with respect to its impact on the public health, crime, and other aspects of the community. There is no evidence that the operation of the facility had brought about devastating effects on the community. On the contrary, as many well informed people have pointed out, such a facility is a lifeline for many injection drug abusers." (read more)


Jenny Wai Ching Kwan, MLA
Vancouver-Mount Pleasant

"Over the years, we have learned and evolved from our experiences. It was not an easy process as different points of view prevailed. In learning and understanding the issue, I have come to accept the recoginition that dead people don't detox and economically, our current approach to the problem was costing taxpayers significantly with little result." (read more)


Ken Frail
Inspector, (Retired)
Vancouver Police Department

"Closure of the SIS will result in increased public drug consumption, increased overdose deaths and increased harm to the entire city." (read more)


James Lu MD, MHSc
Chair, Health Officers Council

"HOC members are public health physicians practicing in BC. We are on record as being in support of comprehensive approaches to reducing the harms of psychoactive substances. The Supervised Injection Site Scientific Research Project is providing important evidence regarding this approach to preventing death and illness from injecting street drugs and improving quality of life." (read more)


Shamus Reid
BC National Executive Representative
Canadian Federation of Students

"Independent, peer-reviewed research has illustrated that InSite has contributed to public safety in Vancouver through decreasing public drug injection and public disorder. Furthermore, InSite plays a role in relieving the significant burden of HIV/AIDS-related medical costs to Canada's health care system, through reducing the risk of transmission." (read more)


Ted Goldberg, Ph.D.

"Swedish drug policy is slowly changing but Sweden is not a country prone to radical and rapid transformation. Instead change is being instituted one step at a time. Therefore much of the Sweden's prohibitionist policy is still in place and probably will remain so in the immediate future. For instance we do not have supervised injection facilities, in spite of all the advantages they provide, such as greatly reducing fatal overdoses, reducing the risk of sharing needles and transmitting HIV, reducing the number of people injecting in public places and leaving infected syringes where children may find them, etc." (read more)


Fong Leung Tong Society

"Since our Society is only one block away from the site, we have had the opportunity to notice a remarkable change in this area after this Harm Reduction facility was set up three years ago. To avoid regurgitating what other people have said about the marvellous results of this program: such as saving lives, reducing petty crime, minimizing the spread of HIV/hepatitis C and improving public order, we like to emphasize the fact that we feel much safer and less fearful walking on the street without any harassment or intimidation from the drug users." (read more)


James Clancy
National President
National Union of General and Public Employees

"The hard evidence is showing us that safe injection sites can be an important component of a strategy to address the drug crisis in many urban areas. It has proven its worth to the Vancouver community."(read more)


Penni Stewart
Canadian Association of University Teachers

James L. Turk
Executive Director
Canadian Association of University Teachers

"the government is putting ideology ahead of sound scientific research and policy in the public interest. This is a disturbing development for both research and public policy in Canada. "(read more)

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