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Open Access Highly Accessed Research

Should North America’s first and only supervised injection facility (InSite) be expanded in British Columbia, Canada?

Ehsan Jozaghi* and Martin A Andresen

Author Affiliations

School of Criminology, Simon Fraser University, 8888 University Drive, B.C. V5A 1S6, Burnaby Canada

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Harm Reduction Journal 2013, 10:1  doi:10.1186/1477-7517-10-1

Published: 16 February 2013

Abstract

Background

This article reports qualitative findings from a sample of 31 purposively chosen injection drug users (IDUs) from Vancouver, Surrey and Victoria, British Columbia interviewed to examine the context of safe injection site in transforming their lives. Further, the purpose is to determine whether the first and only Supervised injection facility (SIF) in North America, InSite, needs to be expanded to other cities.

Methods

Semi-structured qualitative interviews were conducted in a classical anthropological strategy of conversational format as drug users were actively involved in their routine activities. Purposive sampling combined with snowball sampling techniques was employed to recruit the participants. Audio recorded interviews were transcribed verbatim and analyzed thematically using NVivo 9 software.

Results

Attending InSite has numerous positive effects on the lives of IDUs including: saving lives, reducing HIV and HCV risk behavior, decreasing injection in public, reducing public syringe disposal, reducing use of various medical resources and increasing access to nursing and other primary health services.

Conclusions

There is an urgent need to expand the current facility to cities where injection drug use is prevalent to reduce overdose deaths, reduce needle sharing, reduce hospital emergency care, and increase safety. In addition, InSite’s positive changes have contributed to a cultural transformation in drug use within the Downtown Eastside and neighboring communities.

Keywords:
Supervised injection facility; Harm reduction; Drug policy