InSite Safe Injections Site Closure

deadscape
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InSite Safe Injections Site Closure

Post by deadscape »

February 11, 2010

It’s a Blind-Eat-Dog World – By Darrin LR Fiddler

The federal government’s decision to shut down the InSite safe injection site depicts sheer ignorance, disregarding the needs of those without hope. By closing the safe injection site, the archaic minds will cut the elusive support helping the addict to come clean. What sense is there in shutting down the facility that is providing assistance and hope? By giving in to their own fear tactics, they argue that in providing the facilities to shoot up, the number of addicts will climb and conditions will worsen. As Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote, “The meaning of good and bad, of better or worse, is simply helping or hurting.”

This program has reduced the number of public injections, its litter, the needle sharing, and has led to an increased enrolment in detox programs and addiction treatment[1]: all the signs of a dangerous program. Not surprising, these reports are among the many that our government has turned a blind eye to.

This plays out like a sequel for the patients of Riverview hospital who fell to the street side when the facility was shut down in the mid-Eighties. Shutting down InSite is like outlawing diet centres and raiding Narcotics Anonymous meetings; support that is otherwise unavailable provides alternatives and support. Are we going to allow the government to shut the doors and throw the addicted back on the street?

Childhood poverty is a foundation for growing into an addiction; if we don’t face these social factors now, our future will grow into ever-worsening conditions. A set of social conditions must be in place for addictions to develop. The stigma of drug dependency has us labeling its victims as ‘the addicted’. Growing up in a hopeless situation is likely to transfer into adulthood under the guise of habits. These habits are created to soothe the emptiness that these children have grown up with. Addictions are an echo of a person’s upbringing but are seen as the fault of the victim.

By vilifying the victim, the problem has become a criminal issue rather than social. As these narcotics are available only through the underground economy, it should be considered a failure of bureaucracy as the conditions worsen. We can fight this beast that feeds on the cold shoulder of society, or we can tame it by reinforcing our sense of humanity and providing help to those we have shunned.

To demonize an addiction is obscene in our consumerist society; while thievery may not be required to ease the obsession, this doesn’t clear it of causing harm. The social costs accrued through tobacco and alcohol total $31 billion, compared to $8.2 billion from illegal drugs. [2] A food addict may not steal to feed their addiction, but this does not diminish its effect on society. Our obsession with cheap, unhealthy food pays its toll from the health care budget, yet we don’t see SWAT teams raiding convenience stores for the harmful products. The costs of treating obesity-related diseases, estimated at an annual average of $1.8 billion[3], span the life of the afflicted, accruing higher costs than the treatment for a drug addict.

Alternatives to help these victims face the social problem must be in place if the government intends to shut down this assistance; our government must improve the conditions of those living on the fringe. Gabor Maté, M.D., in is book In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction, “The (safe injection site) 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.”[4] As citizen, we must ensure that those with the least resources are empowered to participate in society; this is how community is built, and where hope can reside and grow.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

[1] Maté, Gabor, M.D., In The Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addictions (Knopf Canada, Toronto, 2008) 323
[2] http://www.ccsa.ca/2006%20CCSA%20Docume ... 2-2006.pdf
[3] http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/10170.php
[4] Maté, Gabor, M.D., In The Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addictions (Knopf Canada, Toronto, 2008) 324
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Captain Awesome
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Re: InSite Safe Injections Site Closure

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Let's open one up in Kelowna.
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Re: InSite Safe Injections Site Closure

Post by fred 2 »

How does a safe site heip the kids of addicts? Can anyone explain this without getting political. :sunshine:
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steven lloyd
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Re: InSite Safe Injections Site Closure

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fred 2 wrote:How does a safe site heip the kids of addicts? Can anyone explain this without getting political. :sunshine:

Addicts have the opportunity to get help in recovering from their addiction before they die and become participating and contributing members of society (have seen it happen many times). Children get to have their parents back (have seen it happen many times) and not repeat the cycle after ending up in underfunded and under-resourced Ministry care. Helps the kids. Helps us.
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Re: InSite Safe Injections Site Closure

Post by Al Czervic »

steven lloyd wrote: not repeat the cycle after ending up in underfunded and under-resourced Ministry care.



That is why our taxes keep going up. Because everything is so “underfunded”. Take Insite for instance...

The annual operating cost of the INSITE service is $3,000,000 The cost per individual who used INSITE for injections was approximately $1,380. The 500 most frequent users went over 400 times at an average cost per person of $13,100.
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Re: InSite Safe Injections Site Closure

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Al Czervic wrote:
The 500 most frequent users went over 400 times at an average cost per person of $13,100.


So much for getting OFF drugs.
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Re: InSite Safe Injections Site Closure

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Al Czervic wrote:
steven lloyd wrote: not repeat the cycle after ending up in underfunded and under-resourced Ministry care.

That is why our taxes keep going up. Because everything is so “underfunded”. Take Insite for instance...
The annual operating cost of the INSITE service is $3,000,000 The cost per individual who used INSITE for injections was approximately $1,380. The 500 most frequent users went over 400 times at an average cost per person of $13,100.

Well, at an estimated $259 million plus per Olympic medal (assuming we win at least 27 medals) at least we know we didn’t underfund the “Pay For The Podium” program. We should be real proud.
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Re: InSite Safe Injections Site Closure

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I keep asking…does your figure of $ 259 million per medal INLCUDE money spent on infrastructure like the Canada Line and Sea to Sky Highway?
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Re: InSite Safe Injections Site Closure

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Captain Awesome wrote:
Al Czervic wrote:
The 500 most frequent users went over 400 times at an average cost per person of $13,100.


So much for getting OFF drugs.


The idea of InSite is not to get people off drugs, but rather to keep them from getting HIV and Hep-C. That way they have the opportunity to live a long and unproductive life.
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Al Czervic
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Re: InSite Safe Injections Site Closure

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Glacier wrote:
Captain Awesome wrote:
Al Czervic wrote:
The 500 most frequent users went over 400 times at an average cost per person of $13,100.


So much for getting OFF drugs.


The idea of InSite is not to get people off drugs, but rather to keep them from getting HIV and Hep-C. That way they have the opportunity to live a long and unproductive life.


I don’t actually doubt from a strictly cost perspective that Insite probably works. Even more scary is that if Insite actually provided the drugs as well it would likely become even more cost effective with a great reduction in crime and in theory the money addicts didn’t spend buying drugs (because they were free) they might spend on something that is not just the local drug dealer of the day.

As it stands right now on Welfare Wednesday there is a line up at midnight at many of the ATM’s that have now sprung up in the area. The drug trade is brisk and within 2-3 days everyone is good and high and broke again only to repeat the process next payday. Maybe if we really cared we would not make it so easy for this cycle to continue.

Oddly we used to keep people locked up in intuitions where we not only provided them with free drugs when we medicated them, they were even administered in a safe manner, not unlike the goal of Insite. Maybe it is time to provide the free drugs at Insite as well ?
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Re: InSite Safe Injections Site Closure

Post by Static »

I agree with Safe sites.
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Re: InSite Safe Injections Site Closure

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Al Czervic wrote:I keep asking…does your figure of $ 259 million per medal INLCUDE money spent on infrastructure like the Canada Line and Sea to Sky Highway?


I keep telling you that the comment following the article YOU posted indicates that figure DOES NOT INCLUDE money spent improving the road to the properties in Whistler - although one would think it has to (it's a big number). Would that justify the disposal of human life for you if it did ?
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Re: InSite Safe Injections Site Closure

Post by Al Czervic »

Steven,

The two are really separate issues and I think you did a disservice to the Insite issue by bringing a seperate subject into this thread in the first place.

As for “justifying” the “disposal” of human lives that is an issue you would have to ask those that choose to dispose of their lives by shooting up with whatever drug of choice they decide to use.
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Re: InSite Safe Injections Site Closure

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Glacier wrote:
Captain Awesome wrote:
Al Czervic wrote:
The 500 most frequent users went over 400 times at an average cost per person of $13,100.


So much for getting OFF drugs.


The idea of InSite is not to get people off drugs, but rather to keep them from getting HIV and Hep-C. That way they have the opportunity to live a long and unproductive life.


Well, people that defend Insite usually point out to Insite practice to refer clients to rehab and other services to get them off drugs. But when somebody comes in 400 times/year, no referral will ever work. Even though they report all the referral, I'm quite skeptical about the numbers. I'd rather hear number people who became clean through it. But for some reason they don't publish that number. Wonder why?
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Re: InSite Safe Injections Site Closure

Post by Al Czervic »

Captain Awesome wrote:
Glacier wrote:
Captain Awesome wrote:
Al Czervic wrote:
The 500 most frequent users went over 400 times at an average cost per person of $13,100.


So much for getting OFF drugs.


The idea of InSite is not to get people off drugs, but rather to keep them from getting HIV and Hep-C. That way they have the opportunity to live a long and unproductive life.


Well, people that defend Insite usually point out to Insite practice to refer clients to rehab and other services to get them off drugs. But when somebody comes in 400 times/year, no referral will ever work. Even though they report all the referral, I'm quite skeptical about the numbers. I'd rather hear number people who became clean through it. But for some reason they don't publish that number. Wonder why?



It’s called cherry picking. Pick the numbers that make your cause look as favorable as possible and your opponent as bad as possible.

Years back I heard an addict being interviewed on the CBC. He said “thank god” they didn’t have an Insite when he was living on the streets of the downtown eastside. Said the only reason he finally got clean was because too many of his friends died from drug use and eventually his will to live is what got him clean. He said had drugs been made safer by a place like Insite he would likely still be down there doing drugs.
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