INSITE passes federal government panel inquiry.

The only safe injection site in North America has finally been given a passing grade by a panel formed by the federal government to look into the sites value to the community and whether or not it encouraged drug use.(they actually thought that was a possibility).Health Minister Tony Clement empowered this panel and was probably hoping for a reason,any reason,to close the site down.I attended a meeting recently,in which the scientists involved with doing the studies for the site said they were convinced the government had already made up it's mind and that the 23 studies that had already been submitted should have been more than enough.The new report is positive in varying numbers as to cost of providing as opposed to cost benefits from the site.Clement told a reporter from The Province newspaper that a decision would be made as to the extension of the sites exemption from federal drug laws:"some time between now and June 30."The only negative comment came from the Vancouver police who said it was all a big waste of money and was not effective in preventing aids or overdose because it did not serve enough people.Sounds like there should be more safe injection sites but I'm sure that was not the intension.It will be difficult for Clement to close the site now as there has been nothing but positive reports since the sites inception.That hasn't stopped the government from letting the sites staff and directors swing in the wind for over a year so far.What the next three months will tell that they haven't learned since the site opened in 2003 is any ones guess?At least the report is in and there's nothing in it that would justify the sites closure.The report states:The site provides 220,000 injections a year.This is only 5% of yearly injections but is significant. Insite costs 3 million per year to operate,or $14 per injection.it has a cost benefit of from 97 cents to $2.90 per dollar spent for things like AIDS prevention.Factoring in overdose prevention that figure rises to between $1.50-$4.02 per dollar spent.These figures are obviously vague and the true value may be uncertain but it is all positive and there is no suggested downside.Saving lives and exposing addicts to treatment possibilities is impossible to factor in but it has to be better than exposing people with no safe place to go a place to inject safely and with emergency assistance at hand.Only time will tell if that's enough to satisfy the most right wing government this country has seen in a lot of years.
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