September 19, 2013 19:36 ET

InSite Marks its 10th Anniversary of Saving Lives

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwired - Sept. 19, 2013) - North America's first legal supervised injection site has survived its first decade with more than 2,000,000 visits and 0 deaths. InSite supporters plan to acknowledge this milestone tomorrow (Friday) morning with a pancake breakfast, speakers and live music on the street in front of the health facility in the Downtown Eastside.

"We want an opportunity to thank all the members of our community who have worked so hard keep this vital life-saving service going," said Liz Evans of PHS Community Services, which helps operate the facility. "It is a testament to the strength and resiliency of the people who have endured the battle to open the site and keep it open - and the Downtown Eastside community that, against all odds has managed to protect the lives of people engaged in active drug use, sending the message that their lives count."

The first supervised injection took place at InSite in the early morning of Sept. 21, 2003. That launched a health care innovation that has prevented drug overdose deaths, limited the spread of disease and moved more people into detox and addiction treatment. Despite its proven success (documented in more than 40 reports and research papers in the world's most respected medical and scientific journals), InSite faced a constant barrage of attacks from Stephen Harper's government. Attempts to close InSite eventually ended up before the courts.

"The BC Supreme Court, BC Court of Appeal, and finally the Canadian Supreme Court all determined that the right of a drug user to receive primary care at InSite must be protected," said plaintiff Dean Wilson. "That, combined with overwhelming public support, countless demonstrations, public forums, media events and vigils in Vancouver, Ottawa, and across the country, has kept InSite open."

"As I said in the Supreme Court building, we won the first day InSite opened," said Wilson. "Now, after ten years of saving lives, we have to look to the future and across the country and think about all of the Canadians who suffer from the consequences of addiction."

InSite supporters mark the 10th year of saving lives.
Press Conference; Dr. Patricia Daly, Liz Evans
Community Event; Pancakes, speakers, live music and Birthday cake. Donovan Mahoney kicks off "Across Canada" speaking tour. Donovan is a recovered Drug-user of InSite who credits the facility with saving his life and was featured on the TV Show "The Beat".
9:15am, Friday September 20th (Press Conference)
10:00am, Friday September 20th (Community Event)
9:15am; Inside InSite at 139 East Hastings St., Vancouver.
10:00am; In front of InSite; 139 East Hastings St., Vancouver.

Contact Information

  • InSite
    Mark Townsend