There has never been an independent analysis of InSite, yet, if you base your knowledge on Vancouver media reports, the case is closed. InSite is a success and should be copied nationwide for the benefit of humanity. Tangential links to declining overdose rates are swallowed whole. Thomas Kerr's claims of reduced "public disorder" in the neighbourhood go unchallenged, despite other mitigating factors such as police activity and community initiative. Journalists note Onsite, the so-called "treatment program" above the injection site, ignoring Onsite's reputation among neighbourhood residents as a spit-shined flophouse of momentary sobriety.
Did you know that B.C. can decriminalize marijuana? Indeed, any Canadian province could decriminalize marijuana possession at any time. Provinces have all kinds of legal options when it comes to dealing with possession of marijuana. We know what the RCMP's preferred option is: more arrests and more charges for marijuana possession. The RCMP have increased marijuana possession charges across Canada by about 30 per cent since Harper came to power. In B.C. the increase has been the greatest: there was a 211 per cent increase in pot possession charges between 2005 and 2011.
Harper's government introduced Bill C-65, a Bill that may make it nearly impossible to build another safe-injection site. The government surely knows that the law may not stand Charter scrutiny. But the Conservatives don't care about that. They will push ahead with the Bill because it makes it sound like they care about (some) Canadians. But in doing so, the Harper government harms not only those with addictions, but all Canadians.
Walk around the inner-city of Vancouver, and the painful reality is clear. The parks are still strewn with needles; addicts are still lying on the sidewalks in drug-induced hazes; death is everywhere. I'm hoping to be proven wrong, but I suspect that in a decade, despite Insite's zealous staff working away, the problems will remain.