Federal Government should follow the evidence and stop trying to close Insite, Co-authors of new CMAJ Article Say

Toronto, Aug. 30 – Drs. Kathleen Dooling and Michael Rachlis, the two co-authors of a new review of the evidence and events surrounding Insite – Vancouver’s supervised drug consumption public health facility – say the federal government “should drop its last-ditch Supreme Court appeal that would allow the government to permanently close this public health facility. They should stand back so public health and law enforcement professionals can do the work that their local community wants them to do.”Their article, published Monday in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, reviews the scientific research, public policies, and community actions related to the establishment and operation of Vancouver’s supervised drug consumption site.

They conclude that “the evidence shows that this public health facility reduces harms of drug addiction while creating positive relationships between users and caregivers which result in more of them entering treatment and rehabilitation programs. Insite also helps to reduce the adverse impact of addiction on the immediate community in various ways, such as decreasing litter like used needles.”

“On a less positive note” the authors said their review “also shows that, unfortunately, since 2006, the Government of Canada, and the Prime Minister of Canada in particular, have consistently misrepresented scientific evidence on Insite to justify their opposition. The government even ignored its own Expert Advisory Panel’s conclusions.”

The authors express general concern about the federal government’s attitude towards evidenced-based policy making, also exemplified in the recent canceling of the long-form census. They said that recent revelation in Macleans magazine indicating that the federal government ordered the RCMP last year not to participate with scientific experts in a public statement supporting Insite “has demolished any remaining credibility for federal addictions’ policy.”

The complete text of their CMAJ article can be found here:http://www.cmaj.ca/embargo/cmaj100032.pdf

For further information: Dr. Michael Rachlis, michaelrachlis@rogers.com, 416-466-0093

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