Stay of execution for Canada’s life saving injection room

Drug Warriors have been gloating about the imminent closure of North America’s only supervised injecting site for drug addicts. (“The injection site is expected to close next month,” reported one conservative group. “Congratulations to members who have worked so hard to keep the pressure on the powers to be to close down this madly insane project!!!!!”)

Then: bang! A sensible Canadian judge has ruled that the Insite injecting room should stay open for another year, with or without permission from the nation’s Prime Minister and his conservative flunkies. Dean Wilson, one of the heroin users who brought the case against the government, did some gloating of his own: “A couple of junkies knocked off the PM,” he told the Vancouver Sun.

I’ve said before that the evidence stacks up in favour of Insite. Opponents appear to think otherwise but are unable to cite any sensible data to support their arguments. Some forgo arguments and just rant incoherently. But most of the comment in the blogosphere is far more sensible. A large number of Canadians apparently support a pragmatic approach to addiction.

The British Columbia Supreme Court judge Ian Pitfield certainly sounded sensible. In his ruling, Mr Pitfield said that the State did not have a right to deny life-saving services to drug addicts. After all, he pointed out, the same state quite happily provided treatment for alcoholism and the consequences of smoking. And, one might add, for obesity, sports injuries, and all sorts of other conditions that result from people doing not very smart things for fun, for money or out of sheer idleness. Conditions that result from us being human, in other words.

Let’s hope Mr. Wilson’s victory is allowed to stand. (see following post…)

This post was published on 29/05/08 in War on drugs.

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