A study recently published in the Lancet demonstrates the impact that Vancouver’s supervised injection site (Insite) has had on overdose mortality over the last few years.
Using data from the provincial coroner’s office, as well as some sophisticated mapping techniques, researchers from the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS demonstrate that the opening of Insite in 2003 was associated with a 35% decrease in overdose mortality in the city blocks within 500 meters of the facility.
Insite is located in Vancouver’s downtown eastside, an area that is also home to one of North America’s largest open-air illicit drug markets and an area of elevated overdose mortality. This finding show that supervised injection facilities can serve not only as harm reduction hubs in drug-using communities, but can have tangible impacts on the health and risk of death of their clients. These findings are timely given that Canada is gearing up for a supreme court battle over Insite. These findings, alongside the existing body of evidence, further demonstrate the necessity of supervised injection facilities in urban areas affected by problematic drug use and are worthy of the court’s deliberation.