The American style “war on drugs” undoubtably ruins more lives than it saves (all while militarizing North American police forces), yet some people think that punishing drug users is sound policy. Research is continually adding more evidence that approaching drug consumption as a health issue and not a criminal one improves the lives of users and of non-users.
In Vancouver, a 15 year long study has concluded that safe injection programs like Insite make the city a better place. Drug users are safer and so too is the surrounding community.
In 1996, almost 40 per cent of drug users reported sharing needles, but by 2011, that had dropped to 1.7 per cent. About 25 per cent of Vancouver’s drug users are HIV positive, and about 90 per cent suffer from Hepatitis C.
The overall health of drug users had improved and more people were accessing addictions treatment, jumping from 12 per cent on methadone treatment in 1996 to 54.5 per cent since 2008, statistics showed.
“This is probably the city with the most aggressive harm reduction approach, yet we’re seeing declining rates of drug use within this community,” Kerr said.
Hopefully local politicians in Toronto (the mayor is an alleged crack user after all) will support calls for a pilot test of age injection sites.