What is Insite?
In 2003 Vancouver launched In-Site; A facility located in the heart of Vancouvers Downtown East Side in which injection drug users would be provided with clean needles to inject in a supervised setting. The goal of in-site is not only providing a safe way and place to inject; they also strive to provide other health care services for those struggling with addiction and HIV / AIDS. Funded by Vancouver Coastal health Insite faced many legal barriers and still to this day operates in a rather legal grey area in the attempt to maintain the facility in harm reduction model techniques and advocacy for treatment. But the numbers don’t lie and a great change was brought upon the most vulnerable community in British Columbia.
Vancouvers Aids Epedemic:
“When you walked around the West End, it would hit you in the face how many people there were with AIDS. In the mid-1990s, we were diagnosing up to 800 people a year, now it’s more like one per week here in B.C.” – Dr. Julio Montaner;
During that time period BC and in particular in the Downtown East Side, we saw an HIV/AIDS epidemic never seen in North America before. Vancouvers large port city has an extremely large open drug market; as well as having the mildest climate in Canada. The open drug market mixed with affordable housing in DTES Single room occupancies makes Vancouvers eastside a breeding ground for crime and substance use.
Since the opening of In-Site
The new cases of H.I.V. infection have dropped substancially … “B.C. has had such remarkable success arresting acquired immune deficiency syndrome, or AIDS, that in the past 25 years, new cases have steadily dropped and are now 90 per cent below what they were at the beginning of the epidemic.” – BC Centre For Dissease Control.
Speaking from personal experience in the surrounding areas; the visible injecting / scattered needles and drug crime did drop substantially as well.
This video uploaded in 2006 shows the severity of this areas situation and how In-Site combats the issues first hand.