Should We Give Addicts A Place To Shoot Up?

Paul Hiebert visits Vancouver's supervised injection facility InSite, open since 2003. Last September, a Canadian Supreme Court ruled that InSite should remain open indefinitely. Other Canadian cities such as MontrealToronto, and Ottawa are considering opening their own facilities. Hiebert spoke to Tim Gauthier, InSite's clinical coordinator:

The participants come in with their own drugs. In case a participant overdoses or has a heart attack, someone is there to help. If we can intervene timely and quick, there's no reason anyone should ever die. That's our primary function.

… Participants at InSite have their own booth, which is clean and sanitary. We offer them new needles, alcohol swabs, a sink to wash their hands and medical care. We can dress their wounds and address chronic health issues. We can also link them up with income assistance and housing.

At our front desk, people can pick up equipment such as condoms, lubrication, needles, cookers, filters and everything you need for injecting safely. We give out as much as people think they need. You could take hundreds of needles if you want. There's no limit.

Drug courts are perhaps the closest equivalent here in the US.