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CDC HIV/AIDS/Viral Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update
CANADA: Second Vancouver Injection Site Sought

January 9, 2012
Edmonton Journal (01.09.12) - Monday, January 09, 2012

Vancouver needs a second supervised injection site, say the operators of the city's only such facility. Located in the Hastings Street corridor, Insite has more than 12,000 registered users and is the site of 800 injections a day, said Mark Townsend of the Portland Hotel Society (PHS).

"I think there needs to be another one, for sure," Townsend said Sunday. "The one facility is tiny in a big, big city, so clearly, you would have to have others." "We would have to get the city, the police, the health authority, and the provincial government [to approve] and then apply for a federal exemption to do it, so it's a complicated step," said Townsend.

However, federal government drug policies are focused on preventing addiction, not facilitating injection. Rejecting the federal government's challenge, the Supreme Court of Canada unanimously ruled in September 2011 that Insite could remain open.

Health authorities would have to determine a need for a second site before city hall would back such a proposal, said Kerry Jang, a city counselor. "Our position is very clear, if the health authority deems it necessary then we'll support it," he said.