UBC Community, Partners, and Alumni Publications

Should North America’s first and only supervised injection facility (InSite) be expanded in British Columbia, Canada? Jozaghi, Ehsan; Andresen, Martin A.


Background: This article reports qualitative findings from a sample of 31 purposively chosen injection drug users (IDUs) from Vancouver, Surrey and Victoria, British Columbia interviewed to examine the context of safe injection site in transforming their lives. Further, the purpose is to determine whether the first and only Supervised injection facility (SIF) in North America, InSite, needs to be expanded to other cities. Methods: Semi-structured qualitative interviews were conducted in a classical anthropological strategy of conversational format as drug users were actively involved in their routine activities. Purposive sampling combined with snowball sampling techniques was employed to recruit the participants. Audio recorded interviews were transcribed verbatim and analyzed thematically using NVivo 9 software. Results: Attending InSite has numerous positive effects on the lives of IDUs including: saving lives, reducing HIV and HCV risk behavior, decreasing injection in public, reducing public syringe disposal, reducing use of various medical resources and increasing access to nursing and other primary health services. Conclusions: There is an urgent need to expand the current facility to cities where injection drug use is prevalent to reduce overdose deaths, reduce needle sharing, reduce hospital emergency care, and increase safety. In addition, InSite’s positive changes have contributed to a cultural transformation in drug use within the Downtown Eastside and neighboring communities.

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