PHS Community Services Society

PHS Community Services Society


September 29, 2011 17:17 ET

PHS Community Services Society: Supreme Court to Rule on Canada's Supervised Drug Injection Site

Decision Could Pave Way for More Injection Sites Across North America

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - Sept. 29, 2011) - The Supreme Court of Canada will deliver a ruling Friday that will determine whether North America's only supervised injection site continues to operate with protection from the Canadian constitution. Located just a few kilometres north of the United States border, the clinic allows drug addicts to inject cocaine, heroin and other street drugs under the supervision of registered nurses who keep them from dying of drug overdoses. If ruled against, InSite could be closed. If ruled in InSite's favour, we could see more sites like it across North America.

Proponents say InSite saves lives, and hope that similar operations will be established at sites in Montreal, New York, San Francisco and Seattle. More than 40 peer-reviewed medical studies confirm that InSite reduces overdose deaths, reduces the spread of HIV/AIDS, reduces public disorder, and increases treatment and detox. Located in Vancouver's inner city, InSite also puts addicts in contact with social and health programs. InSite staff passed out more than 5,200 referrals in 2010 alone, including 458 admissions into the clinic's adjunct detox centre.

Critics say InSite is coddling criminals and wasting taxpayers' money.

PHS Community Services Society (co-operator of InSite) has been battling the Canadian government to keep InSite legal. PHS and drug users Shelly Tomic and Dean Wilson filed their case in BC Supreme Court in 2007. The BC Supreme Court ruled that two sections of Canada's Controlled Drugs and Substances Act are unconstitutional because they offend the rights to life, liberty and security of the person in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Prime Minister Stephen Harper's government appealed the ruling in 2008 and lost.

The Canadian Government appealed again to the Supreme Court of Canada. On Friday, the Court will release its decision in the case at 6:45 AM PDT (9:45 AM EDT in Ottawa). InSite will be open to the community and media to hear the decision.

139 East Hastings St., Vancouver, BC
WHAT: Statement regarding Supreme Court of Canada ruling
WHEN: Friday, September 30
6:30 AM PDT: InSite open to the community and media to hear the Supreme Court of Canada decision.
8:30 AM PDT: PHS to provide official statements about the court ruling.

Contact Information

  • Media Contact
    Shelley Bolton