Supreme Court supportive of InSite


in Canada, Economics, Law, Politics, Rants, Science, Security

The Supreme Court of Canada’s unanimous decision to support Vancouver’s safe injection site is very encouraging, particularly in the present political context. Overall, the direction of Canada’s policy toward illegal drugs is depressing and frustrating. We are choosing the emulate the country with the worst drug policy in the developed world – the United States. We are pursuing a hopeless policy of prohibition, while trying to shut down options with a better chance of success, such as those that seek to reduce the harm associated with addiction.

Politicians often choose to cater to the irrational fears and biases of the general population. Judges are a bit freer to consider the ethics and evidence that bear upon a situation. That seems to be what the Supreme Court has done in this case:

During its eight years of operation, Insite has been proven to save lives with no discernible negative impact on the public safety and health objectives of Canada. The effect of denying the services of Insite to the population it serves and the correlative increase in the risk of death and disease to injection drug users is grossly disproportionate to any benefit that Canada might derive from presenting a uniform stance on the possession of narcotics.

Hopefully, this ruling will prompt a broader rethink of how Canada deals with drugs that are currently prohibited.


{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Mica Prazak October 4, 2011 at 1:50 pm

Personally, I support Insite. However, that being said, this is one of the issues I can completely understand arguments against.

alena October 5, 2011 at 12:23 am

I volunteered at Insite and definitely support the program and funding for it. I think that it serves a critical function and actually protects everyone from the dreadful consequences of drug addiction. I personally think that much more has to be done before people get to that point. So many factors contribute to the situation that we face that there is no single solution or point of view.

oleh October 8, 2011 at 9:39 pm

Drug abuse is a social and health problem. It is difficult to determine how much criminilization contributes to or lessens the extent of the problem.

I support Insite. It deals practically with the social and heatlh problem. Drug abuse does and will occur. The question is to try to reduce the consequences.

RECOVERED ADDICT October 10, 2011 at 1:49 pm

During its eight years of operation, Insite has been proven to save lives with no discernible negative impact on the public safety and health objectives of Canada

TURNING TRICKS BEG BORROWING AND STEALING are now cosidered a normal life here in canada I guess as long as it’s not your children we happily support this lifestyle and say there’s no negative impact insite may bring people back to life but the long term effect of harm reduction is nothing short of dead people walking since when is supporting a ten year opiate intake considered helpfull, any human form subjected to opiates for this lenght of time will have very serious health implications and longterm suffering check out some of these graduates of insite

Milan October 10, 2011 at 3:33 pm

Nobody is claiming that opiate addiction is healthy or not a problem. Rather, the evidence suggests that a world with InSite is better than one without it. People would still be using drugs if the clinic did not exist, but they would be more likely to contract diseases from dirty needles and to die of overdoses.

InSite also gives addicts at least some contact with the medical system.

oleh October 12, 2011 at 1:57 am

I do not see that Insite is related to or responsible for more TURNING TRICKS ( Prostitution) BEG BORROWING (Panhandling) AND STEALING (Theft) or for normalizing those activities. The Supreme Court of Canada reviewed the decisions of the two previous courts which relating to considerable evidence. After this the SCC concluded “During its eight years of operation, Insite has been proven to save lives with no discernible negative impact on the public safety and health objectives of Canada”.

mani October 12, 2011 at 3:23 am

“> alert(” Yahhh “)

. October 12, 2011 at 10:10 pm

Quebec opens door to safe injection sites

QUEBEC — The Quebec government is giving the green light to new safe injection sites for addicts to shoot up under supervision.

Health Minister Yves Bolduc says he supports the recent Supreme Court of Canada decision to keep the Insite safe injection clinic open in Vancouver.

. November 14, 2011 at 6:57 pm

The Supreme Court unanimously ruled that the minister’s exercise of his discretion must comply with Charter of Rights requirements, and it did not. The court found the failure to grant an exemption breached drug users’ Section 7 rights to “life, liberty and security of the person,” because it put their health and life at risk.

The refusal was “arbitrary” because it undermined the law’s purpose – protecting health and public safety. And it was “grossly disproportionate” because the clinic “was proven to save lives with no discernible negative impact on the public health and safety.” The harm to drug addicts far outweighed any benefits the refusal would engender.

I suggest the Supreme Court is using the Charter to implement ethics at an individual case level, while keeping the law intact at the general level – it ruled the act itself was constitutionally valid – much as the old courts of equity did. When the King’s courts’ strict application of the common law caused unconscionable outcomes for unsuccessful litigants, equity, as the “court of conscience,” acted in personam to prohibit victorious parties from enforcing their judgments. It put a “gloss on the common law.” Although operating in a very different way legally, the Charter can be viewed as allowing 21st-century judges to realize similar goals.

. March 13, 2012 at 7:33 pm

Heroin effective, less costly way to treat addicts

CMAJ study compared heroin to methadone in preventing addiction relapses

Prescribing heroin instead of methadone is more effective and less costly in treating street drug addiction relapses, a new analysis suggests.

The cost-effectiveness study, published in Monday’s issue of the Canadian Medical Association Journal, focused on people addicted to opioid drugs who had tried methadone replacement therapy at least twice and were unable to stay drug-free.

It was a collaboration with UBC, the University of Montreal and the Northern Ontario School of Medicine.

“We gave them option of trying methadone or diacetylmorphine [heroin] under medically supervised conditions, and we found people who were getting diacetylmorphine were retained in treatment much, much longer, so they had a much better outcome,” said study head Dr. Aslam Anis, director of the Centre for Health Evaluation and Outcome Sciences at St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver.

Most of the savings in the mathematical model were attributed to how those prescribed heroin stayed in treatment longer and spent less time in relapse than those randomly assigned to receive methadone.

By staying in treatment, health-care costs were lower when the cost of the drugs, counselling and social supports were added up.

. April 23, 2013 at 10:56 pm

Harm reduction
Shoots up and leaves
Safe injection sites are drawing druggies away from stairs and squares

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