If you were against the prospect of a methadone clinic in Bremerton, you’ll likely be incensed by a rather radical approach to drug addiction in British Columbia. At Insite, a clinic in Vancouver’s lower eastside, drug addicts are able to bring in and inject illegal drugs under the supervision of a nurse.
The argument for the clinic is that even if they’re choosing to abuse drugs like heroin, the chance they’ll overdose or hurt themselves while in the presence of medical professionals is far less. A study released recently confirms that point.
And on Friday, proponents of the clinic scored a victory when the Canadian Supreme Court ruled that Insite would be allowed to operate in the face of drug laws because closing it would be a violation of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. (The Charter is basically the Canadian version of our Bill of Rights, though it was passed in 1982.)
As you may recall, a Seattle non-profit led an effort recently to place a methadone clinic in Bremerton to combat the region’s rising opiate addiction epidemic. But businesses and residents in the area, fearing problems it might bring to the Charlston neighborhood, pushed back and the non-profit abandoned its plans.
What that non-profit does is far different from a free injection site. Methadone, a long-acting opiate, is used as a replacement drug for opiate addicts. It can be effective at quelling the addiction without giving the patient a high.
That said, how do you feel about the idea of so-called “safe injection sites?” Are those Canadians on to something, or are they off their rockers?