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  • Supervised injection sites come to Montreal

    Posted on January 16th, 2014 TimB No comments

    Montreal will soon be home to four supervised injection sites. The sites, announced in December 2013, will include three permanent locations in already existing clinics across the city, as well as one mobile clinic to serve the Montreal area.

    The news comes after a decade-long struggle between the Canadian federal government and the Quebec-based organizations that have been advocating for supervised injection sites (SIS) in Montreal ever since the first site, Insite Vancouver, was established in 2003.

    SISs are places where injection-drug users can go to obtain clean needles and dispose of used ones. Additionally, social workers and on-site emergency medical attention are available to users if needed. These sites are part of an approach known as harm reduction, which involves programs that provide safe spaces and medical services for drug users in a nonjudgmental and non-coercive manner.

    Since its inception, Insite has operated under an exemption to the Controlled Drug and Substances Act, allowing it to legally provide help to drug users.

    Inspired by Insite, Montreal-based organizations, such as Association pour la Défense des Droits et l’Inclusion des personnes qui Consomment des drogues du Québec (ADDICQ) and CACTUS Montreal, began campaigning for SISs in 2003. However, they were unable to obtain the same exemption that Insite was given, and thus had little hope of creating the sites. In 2011, the Supreme Court ruled that Insite was a necessary service, said Sylvain Côté of ADDICQ, a community-based organization that provides support for injection drug users.

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