Liberal Health Critic Dr. Hedy Fry welcomes Supreme Court decision to keep Insite open

Media/Press Release
Friday, September 30, 2011

Liberal Health Critic Dr. Hedy Fry welcomes Supreme Court decision to keep Insite open

For Immediate Release
September 30, 2011

VANCOUVER— Liberal Health Critic Dr. Hedy Fry welcomed the decision by the Supreme Court of Canada, this morning that would allow for the continued operation of Insite.

“The Supreme Court sent a clear message to the Conservative government today, its position is indefensible. Their ‘war on drugs’ has not worked in Canada and has proven to be an abject failure everywhere else in the world. Addiction is a medical problem and requires medical and public health solutions. As a physician I believe that to deny proven life saving assistance to those who are vulnerable simply because one disapproves of their lifestyles is the ultimate immorality.” said Dr. Fry.

Dr. Fry was the Federal Liberal Minister responsible for the Vancouver Agreement that resulted in the opening of Insite in 2003. Insite was a two year clinical research project conducted by scientists at UBC and the Centre for Excellence in Clinical Trials for HIV/AIDS. Within six months of the establishment of Insite overdose deaths had dropped to zero among the IV drug user cohort and remained so among Insite users. Within eighteen months this resistant group was seeking ‘detox’ and treatment that led to the opening of Onsite, a twenty-four bed unit in the same building as Insite.

Insite’s results, as per scientific research protocol, were analyzed by twenty two international peer review groups all of whom confirmed these findings. Despite this overwhelming evidence, the Conservative Government refused to accept Insite’s success and have since been trying to shut it down.

“I hope today’s decision by the Supreme Court will finally put an end to the Conservative Government’s ideological opposition to Vancouver’s safe injection site,” said Dr. Fry. “Good public policy should be based on clear evidence and not ideology. Insite was a harm reduction project based on successful programs in Europe and Australia. The target group was high risk IV drug users with high overdose mortality rates as well as significant morbidity rates for HIV and Hepatitis C, resulting in frequent hospitalization. Insite’s results showed a remarkable decrease in death, disease and hospitalization. The evidence is clear.”

The Supreme Court case included nine interveners. All but one of them supported the position of Insite and the government of British Columbia, including the Canadian Medical Association.


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Paul Nixey

Ryan Cotter