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Occupy Vancouver prepared for potential police violence: Medics

The first aid tent at Occupy Vancouver. Photo: David P. Ball

Volunteer medics at Occupy Vancouver -- including an emergency room nurse and a first aid responder trained in the military -- are preparing for the worst as political rhetoric over the three-week-old encampment escalates.

After the death this weekend of Ashlie Gough, 23, in the camp, Mayor Gregor Robertson has come under pressure from his right-leaning opponent in the upcoming city election, Suzanne Anton, to remove Occupy Vancouver's tent city -- although the mayor said Sunday he was happy to let the protest continue, without people sleeping in tents. Stronger warnings from City Hall have medics at the encampment worried.


The Supreme Court sides with Insite

Photo: Russell Maynard
The head of Vancouver’s Dr. Peter AIDS Centre, which also offers supervised injection services, responds to the Supreme Court’s ruling.

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A triumph for Insite

Photo: Russell Maynard

During its eight years of operation, Insite has been proven to save lives with no discernible negative impact on the public safety and health objectives of Canada. The effect of denying the services of Insite to the population it serves and the correlative increase in the risk of death and disease to injection drug users is grossly disproportionate to any benefit that Canada might derive from presenting a uniform stance on the possession of narcotics.

- The Supreme Court of Canada, Sept. 30, 2011


The verdict is in: Insite saves lives

Insite in Vancouver. Photo: Stephen Dyrgas/Flickr

The verdict is in: Insite saves lives. A study by UBC scientists at the B.C. Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS adds to the collection of data already showing that North America's first medically supervised safer injection facility saves lives and money.

The study, published last month in the prestigious British medical journal The Lancet, concludes that the opening of Insite in 2003 was associated with a 35 per cent reduction in overdose deaths in the neighbourhood surrounding the facility. This reduction translates into real lives saved at no expense whatsoever to the federal government.



Why we shouldn't buy into the smear campaign against the Portland Hotel Society

April 6, 2014
| After Mark Townsend was forced to resign, critics from the left as well as the right accused the PHS of corruption. Michael Stewart says that's exactly what the government wanted us to do.
Length: 12:48 minutes (11.73 MB)

Vancouver's safe injection site marks its 10th anniversary

October 5, 2013
| In 2003, Insite opened its doors to provide harm reduction services to people who inject drugs. In that time, there have been 1.8 million visits and no overdose deaths.
Length: 15:13 minutes (13.93 MB)

Insite safe injection facility celebrates 10 years of operation

Countless rallies over the past 10 years have defended Insite. (Photo:

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Vancouver's Insite celebrates 10 years as threat of Conservatives' Bill C-65 looms

It's ironic, and typical, that as Insite celebrates its 10th anniversary of successful operation in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside, the Conservative government in Ottawa is still railing against Safe Injection Sites and no doubt has Bill C-65 ready to go when Parliament returns October 16.

Bill C-65, An Act to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, was the last bill to be introduced before parliament recessed in June. It's a nasty bill, couched in anti-harm reduction rhetoric, full of misconceptions, and designed to shut down any attempt to open a safe injection site in Canada.

The bill is a shining example of Conservative ideology trumping evidence-based health and science.


Conservative NIMBYism and class warfare: Why safe injection facilities need our support

Photo:  Stephen Dyrgas / flickr

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The Canadian Conservative Party's director of political operations, Jenni Byrne, does not believe those suffering with drug addiction deserve a second chance. On the contrary, she unapologetically supposes that heroin and cocaine users are better to shoot up on a mephitic street corner than within safe, clean and regulated injection sites.



Insite's safe injection centre

Insite is a supervised injection site located in Vancouver.  It is the only legal site of its kind in North America.  The facility first opened in 2003 as a pilot project based on a harm reduction model.

Grassroots activists in the Downtown Eastside neighbourhood were instrumental in the establishing the safe injection facility, and continued to actively defend the initiative in court. Initially operating under a temporary judicial exemption, the site’s legal status was confirmed in a groundbreaking ruling by the Supreme Court of Canada in 2011.


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