Insite extension a political manoeuvre instead of a public health decision



    Existing evidence shows supervised injection facility should be permanent

    TORONTO, Oct. 2 /CNW/ - The six-month extension given to Vancouver's
supervised injection facility by federal Health Minister Tony Clement earlier
this afternoon is an irresponsible decision on a public health program that
has been proven to work, said the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network today.
    "This is the second time that the federal government has stalled on this
decision and said that more research is needed. But the fact is, Minister
Clement is asking questions that have already been answered and calling for
research that's already been done," said Richard Elliott, Executive Director.
"The evidence is unequivocal: Insite is saving lives and lowering the risk of
HIV infection in one of the most marginalized communities in Canada, and
increasing the chances of referring people who use drugs to addiction
treatment services."
    This latest extension comes just days ahead of the expected unveiling of
the government's new National Anti-Drug Strategy, which omits funding to harm
reduction programs like Insite.
    "This is a blatant attempt by the government to avoid the most
controversial consequence of cutting harm reduction out of Canada's drug
policy," concluded Elliott. "This is an irresponsible policy decision that's
based on ideology rather than on evidence. It's simply not in the public
interest."
    Among the existing evidence is research conducted by the British Columbia
Centre for Excellence on HIV/AIDS that clearly demonstrates that Insite has
lowered the rates of syringe-sharing, deaths from overdoses, and risk of HIV
and hepatitis C infection. The research has been published in leading medical
journals, including The Lancet, the New England Journal of Medicine and the
Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ).
    Insite has earned the support of the Vancouver Police Department, local
residents and business groups, the City of Vancouver, and scientists and AIDS
experts from across Canada and around the world.

    About the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network

    The Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network (www.aidslaw.ca) promotes the human
rights of people living with and vulnerable to HIV/AIDS, in Canada and
internationally, through research, legal and policy analysis, education, and
community mobilization. The Legal Network is Canada's leading advocacy
organization working on the legal and human rights issues raised by HIV/AIDS.

    Disponible en français





For further information:

For further information: Leon Mar, Director of Communications,
Telephone: (416) 595-1666 ext. 228, E-mail: lmar@aidslaw.ca, Website:
www.aidslaw.ca

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CANADIAN HIV/AIDS LEGAL NETWORK

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