Ontario politicians, Ottawa mayor and police chief reject safe injection sites, science


Mere minutes after a panel of experts recommended safe drug injection sites for Ottawa and Toronto, Ontario’s health minister rejected the idea, claiming “experts continue to be divided by the value of the sites.” The minister, Deb Matthews, didn’t specify which experts she was referring to. The overwhelming majority of those who have published evidence in peer-reviewed journals say the sites save lives, don’t increase crime and are cost effective.  The Supreme Court of Canada unanimously prevented the federal government from shutting down a safe injection site in Vancouver last year.

Matthews was joined in her reaction to the recommendation by the mayor and police chief of Ottawa, both of whom rejected the idea outright.

From the Ottawa Citizen:

Mayor Jim Watson said that if extra money is available, it should go to drug rehabilitation and treatment programs.

“It’s better use of tax dollars to put it into these kinds of treatment centres as opposed to safe injection sites,” Watson told reporters.

Ottawa police Chief Charles Bordeleau said the report’s findings have not changed his view that supervised injection sites are undesirable.

“As long as the criminal element is there, we will have issues around the current form of safe injection sites,” Bordeleau told reporters.

Maclean’s Science-ish blogger Julia Belluz looked at the evidence around safe injection in a post last year. Her conclusion: “The evidence we have on Insite is as good as we are ever going to get in demonstrating that this type of program is helpful in managing the harms related to illicit drug use as well as the costs associated with treating related infections.”

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Ontario politicians, Ottawa mayor and police chief reject safe injection sites, science

  1. This smells more like a minority government afraid of political backlash than anything else.

  2. The cost of safe injection sites do not include the two to three full time police officers that must be assigned to every site for security, like in Vancouver. My belief is that if you are caught with an illicit drug and you are addicted you must go to rehab and suffer withdrawal until the drug is completely gone from your system. Then you may go back into society on a short lease and suffer the same fate if you are caught again, except this time with jail. Enough of this left wing garbage stating it is okay for people to use drugs openly and that we must try to understand…I understand…ytou break the law…you suffer the consequences, period.

    •  It’s a good thing the people in charge of actually having to fix the problem aren’t you then, isn’t it.

    • Safe injection sites are about “reducing harm”, to the public that don’t use injectable drugs as well as to people who do use them.  They greatly reduce the number of dirty needles with hepatitis & other blood-borne infectious diseases that might otherwise be discarded in parks, waiting for someone in “flip-flops” to step on them.  If they also increase the police presence in those areas so much better, maybe that is why violent crimes have dropped in those areas that have the injection sites.
      As for your suggestion that people be left to suffer withdrawl with no medical intervention to lessen their symptoms, is that just for illicit drug use or are you going to make people who are abusing prescriptions drugs and alcohol suffer the same torture?  Do you also realize that withdrawal can cause severe changes in vital signs including spikes in blood pressure that could lead to strokes and possible death?  Are you alright with people dying so you can teach them a lesson?  What healthcare professionals do you think are going to work at “your rehab facility”?

    • And do you also “understand” that going to jail is extremely unlikely to cure anyone of their drug addiction.  In fact, some people become addicts while in jail.  Whether you like it or not, addiction is an illness, which makes it a healthcare problem & that’s how it should be treated.

    •  Who cares what works, so long as the solution feels right  – and punishing  people I don’t approve of sure feels good.

  3. The “…sites, science” in the head is priceless. Lulz straight out of the Onion. Which is how North America drug policy sadly is. 

  4. How about some free smack while you’re at it lefty’s!! Enabling junkies is brilliant, why? Because some “expert” says so… and thats all the convincing the peasants need. As long as they’re not smoking cigarettes because those are legal, but frowned upon. As a “Liberal”/ “Progressive”, I thoroughly enjoy the soft totalitarian schizophrenic approach, after all, these types of decisions are made by people who know whats best for the peasants… and thats that.

    • I suppose you think giving prostitutes condoms is enabling them too?   Is it or is it just accepting that prostitutes are going to participate in the sex trade and it is much better for everyone if they do not spread sexually transmitted diseases?
      Stop looking at injection sites as a great deal for a drug addict and start looking at the way it benefits the bottom line of the healthcare system and the life of the people who reside in the lower socioeconomic communities that tend to attract the people who are addicted to drugs.
       Injection sites provide clean needles and place OFF the public streets, AWAY from schoolyard and parks and OUT of the eyesite of people who live in poorer areas so they don’t have to be exposed to people shooting up and then leaving their used needles around.  The sites also have offer rehabilitation services to an audience who is in need of rehabilitating, should any one of them decide to take that step.  The site also has healthcare professionals inhouse, so people aren’t ODing out on the street in front of the neighborhood residents. Perhaps you are not aware that in most major cities, health professionals already go around to these areas offering clean needles and trying to get people to dispose of their used ones in a safe manner.  These health professionals are in vehicles, travelling from person to person.  It might also suprise you that health professionals do this and other interventions to try to stop the spread of diseases that cost your and my healthcare system alot of money.  That is another thing….these insite clinics save money.  Handling an oversdose in the clinic instead of hauling a person to the hospital from the street via an expensive and ambulance ride is a big savings.

      • What utter rubbish… these sites do NOT offer any rehabilitation services, you are either ignorant of that fact or you are a liar! The taxpayer funded junkie house in Vancouver hasn’t helped one junkie into rehabilitation, and there is a reason for that, because “safe injection sites” are NOT about rehabilitation! They are about Government enabling junkies to shoot up an illegal product at the taxpayer expense. Taxpayer money should NOT be spent on enabling people to destroy themselves, but instead, it should be used as a means of helping these people when they seek the help.  

        • Hahaha!  Buddy you should have at least looked up what insite offers…”drug counselling, treatment of diseases..” before you had the audacity to call me “ignorant or a liar”.  Your own lack of knowledge really diminishes your credibility on the subject.

          • Trudopian is just on here to yank people’s chains. Best to steer clear…

          • Well “buddy”, you’re comprehension skills are as weak as you’re “arguments”. Insite does not offer any junkie rehabilitation, never has, never will. Insite offers junkies a “safe” place to shoot illegal drugs. Insite offers a “safe” environment for junkies that encourages a continued anti social behaviour and enables the drug addict to continue destroying their body and mind. If you can produce data that contradicts this fact, then you should produce it. A person addicted to heroin should not be encouraged, aided and abetted by the State to continue destroying themselves, instead, if the State must be involved they should offer services that would actually help the addict over come their inner demons and beat their addiction. Insite is not there to offer rehabilitation and does not offer any rehabilitation services, it is there to enable the junkie to continue destroying themselves in a “safe” environment.  

          • You are actually going to continue to deny what is right there in black and white on the internet under “insite”?  You just have to google it and read it….everyone else has.

    • Who needs “experts” when you’ve got “common sense” and “gut feelings”.  Indeed, we should get rid of all “experts”.   We can start with University profs and move onto everyone wearing glasses.  We’ll turn them all into “peasants” by emptying the cities and sending them to “farms”.

      • What the who now?

  5. This is sad, embarrassing, and stupid.  I mean, if we can’t afford it right now, let’s have a discussion around what we’ll need to give up, as a society, in order to make our streets actually safer (as opposed to the increase in jails where we just SAY they’ll be safer) and lower our health care costs when dirty needles infect many with hepatitis or whatever.  I’m not saying that those savings would cover the cost of the site; I don’t believe they would completely cover it.  But how about if most of us buy an extra lottery ticket per week, would that make up the difference?

    • it is “sad, embarrassing, and stupid”… it’s also cruel, and completely absurd of the State to encourage and enable someone to continue ruining their life. If the State must be involved, would it not be better for the State to offer counseling and safe rehabilitation for junkies. What possible illusion could exist that nurturing a drug habit would be a healthy decision!?  

      • Chances are, the addicts don’t go on blogs or Facebook to see that you think they are practicing an unhealthy lifestyle.  So how do you propose to get that personal, one-on-one message to them–a message of help and support rather than condemnation?  You know, one that they might give serious consideration to taking up, kind of message.  Like several have at Insite.

      • “If the State must be involved, would it not be better for the State to offer counseling and safe rehabilitation for junkies. ”

        Which is indeed one of the functions of Insite.

        For rehab treatment to work it must be entered into voluntarily. That won’t happen unless the addict feels the environment is safe and the staff are knowledgeable and non-judgmental.

        • Insite does not function as a conduit to rehabilitation, it is nothing less then a glorified State sanctioned drug den. Rehabilitation services for drug addicts are scarce, under funded, and in most cases painfully inadequate. Instead of the State enabling a drug addict to continue the habit by funding drug dens, it should redirect those resources into something that encourages the addict to quit, and offers help. Once again, insite has nothing to do with rehabilitation… nothing… it is a “safe” injection site that offers the addict “free”, “clean” needles to continue shooting illegal drugs, and encourages the addict to continue destroying themselves.     

      • You’re begging the question from start to finish.   Safe injection sites don’t “encourage”, “enable”, or “nuture” drug addiction.  Nor do they preclude counseling and rehabilitation.

  6. By all means, let unskilled, ignorant politicians deny scientific proof to keep health care costs as high as possible in Ontario.

    If it is just a matter of them being political cowards KeithBram, a publicly voted referendum would protect their perilous posteriors and save them from openly sabotaging the public’s health and health care.

    After all Anslinger is gone, his lies and scare tactics are so… 50s anyway. In the early 70’s a parliamentary commission found that even laws against the innocuous marijuana users were arcane and unfounded. Yet still today, muppets in government are locking up people that choose to use marijuana, and Harper has even increased the costs to Canadians with his ‘new’ (OLD) get tough criminal act.

    If the muppets still can’t accept science that old, what reason could they have to jump on the global warming bandwagon? Ah yes… more taxes…

  7. its too bad this whole thing is bullshit they are building right now at a site in london and plan to go everywhere els in the near future….u can say no all u want this is not a domocracy its a dictatorship!!

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