Insite Clinics: Do They Have a Place in Our Society?

by on February 4, 2014 - 1:12pm

The article ‘‘Vancouver’s Insite drug injection clinic will stay open’’, wrote by Rik Jeperson, a CBC’s journalist explains the major reasons that have led the Supreme Court of Canada to keep the clinic open. As you may know, Vancouver is as today the only Province of Canada that allows supervised drug injection by nurses in a specific clinic. Drug-addicts beneficiate of clean needles, dosage supervision and are supported throughout their rehabilitation journey via different programs and activities. Even if the Canada’s Prime Minister, Stephen Harper was against it, the Supreme Court of Canada decided by unanimous decision to let the clinic open because ‘‘not allowing the clinic to operate under an exemption from drug laws would be a violation of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms’’.

For its part, the Prime’s Minister Party believes that drug injection sites have no place in our society since the Conservative goal is to eradicate drug consumption, not to allow it. They fear that these sites would have negative impacts on our society and that it would encourage more people to do drugs. They also fear that more people would be found with drug in their possession and more clinics of this type will open, although the Court clearly stated that ‘‘it was not a license for drug users to possess drug wherever and whenever they wish […] nor is it an invitation for anyone who so chooses to open a facility for drug use under the banner of a 'safe injection facility’’. The Conservative government even plan to review the Supreme Court’s decision.

On the other hand, studies on the impacts of Vancouver Insite clinic have been conducted and have shown positive results. It has been proven of saving life and to have no negative effects on the public health and safety. Indeed, a British study has shown that ‘‘overdose deaths have declined by 35 percent in the area of the Insite, since the clinic had opened’’. In another study conducted by the B.C. Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS has shown that ‘‘since Insite opened, there’s been an increase of 30 percent of the addicts that enter detox’’. People that support drug injection clinics believe that it is better to supervise drug-addicts and help them to seek support rather than letting them in the street and dying of an overdose or contracting a HIV due to dirty shared needles. Since the clinic had opened, there has been no death in the faculty.

The drug injection facility debate is pretty challenging because it opposes values such as public safety versus drug-addicts safety, or anti-drug use versus help and tolerance. The ethical claim the Stephen Harper Party’s defend is that nobody should use drugs and we should focus on preventing drug addiction, whereas injection clinic defend that these people are going to do drugs anyway and we should help them and supervise them. It is hard to take a position in this debate since each Party has its pros and its cons, but I personally believe that we should continue to allow clinics like Insite to operate because it saves so much lives and it helps drug-addicts to seek rehab. I think it would be for the greater good since no negative impact of these clinics have been noticed on the society. These drug-addicts are also members of our society, do you think they deserve to be helped?



Work cited

Jesperson, Rik. "Vancouver's Insite Drug Injection Clinic Will Stay Open." CBCnews. CBC, 30 Sept. 2011. Web. 04 Feb. 2014.


I am posting here because I feel that this topic is quite important. I agree with you; I feel that the clinics are helping more than they are doing harm. As you stated, they save lives, they prevent deadly diseases from spreading and they help people if they want rehab, none of which would happen if they didn’t exist. Giving people clean needles does not necessarily imply that more people will become drug addicts it does however imply that those who are addicted can get help and stay safe. Health is an important value to me, and these clinics seem to be helping people get healthier with the clean needles and rehab. If they stayed on the street the likelihood that they would seek help is slim, so I feel like these clinics are helpful. I also stand behind the moral claim you mentioned of the greater good. These clinics seem to be helping a lot of people, and helping there be less addicts in the world actually helps the rest of the society as well. How is giving drug addicts a safe place to seek help and detox any different than treating a drunk driver after an accident?

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