InSite directors support latest comment on the facility's success
VANCOUVER, Aug. 21 /CNW/ - The executive directors of PHS Community
Services Society (PHS), one of the operators of Canada's only supervised
injection site, have responded to yesterday's comments by Minister of Health
Tony Clement by pointing to a commentary published today, supported by 130
doctors and scientists, that states the treatment of substance abuse is being
judged by "an entirely different standard than the treatment of other common
The commentary by respected University of Toronto research scientist,
Stephen Hwang, was published today in Open Medicine and says that the current
uncertainty over InSite's future is "an alarming example of a recent trend
towards the increased politicization of science".
"In a series of peer-reviewed research articles, the supervised injection
facility in Vancouver has been shown to provide a number of benefits,
including reduced needle sharing, decreased public drug use, fewer publicly
discarded syringes, and more rapid entry into detoxification services by
persons using the facility," the commentary reads.
The commentary, Science and Ideology: A Call for Action, can be read in
"This commentary reflects our view that any judgment on InSite should be
a health issue, not a political issue," said Liz Evans, executive director of
PHS. "This latest academic commentary, and its high-level of support from the
scientific community, adds to the overwhelming consensus that InSite saves
lives and improves public safety in our communities."
A total of 24 peer-reviewed papers have been published over the last few
years in prestigious medical journals including the Lancet, the New England
Journal of Medicine, and the British Medical Journal, stating that InSite has
reduced public injections, overdose fatalities, and the transmission of
blood-borne infections, like HIV and Hepatitis C.
On Friday, PHS and two addicted people who use InSite issued a statement
of claim in the BC Supreme Court that questions the need for its current
exemption from the Federal Government of Canada to continue to operate
"We would rather not be in court on this issue, but we see this as an
opportunity to get some much-needed clarification on the future of InSite,"
said Mark Townsend, executive director of PHS. "We need to be able to operate
on a long-term basis, so that we can move past this recurring debate and focus
on continuing to save lives."
For further information:
For further information: Mark Townsend, Executive Director, PHS
Community Services Society, (604) 720-3050; Dr. Thomas Kerr, B.C. Center of
Excellence for HIV/AIDS, (604) 314-7817