Community Groups take Federal Government to Court over Safe Injection Site
Sunday, April 27, 2007
On Monday, April 28, Pivot Legal Society director John Conroy will be representing the Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users in a 10-day trial challenging the Federal Minister of Health’s ability to close Insite, the safe injection site in Vancouver.
Joe Arvey, representing the Portland Hotel Society which manages the site, will also be testing the federal government’s power to close Insite.
Where: B.C. Supreme Courthouse
When: Monday, April 28, 10am
Duration: 10 days
Case name: VANDU v. AG Canada and Minister of Health; PHS Community Services Society et al v. AG Canada
Presiding Judge: Judge Pitfield
It has been more than four years since Insite, the first supervised injection site in North America, opened with the goal of increasing access to drug treatment, reducing street disorder, and preventing overdose deaths and disease transmission among Vancouver’s drug user population. Numerous scientific studies in medical journals such as the Lancet and the New England Journal of Medicine have shown the effectiveness of the site in meeting those objectives. The Federal Government’s select advisory committee on Insite also published a report two weeks ago documenting the success of the site.
Despite the medical evidence, the Federal Minister of Health has refused to grant a permanent exemption to Section 56 of the Narcotics Control Act for Insite, which allows the injection of drugs on the facilities. Instead, the Minister has granted to two temporary extensions to the exemption. The most recent exemption is due to expire on June 30, 2008. After that, the future of Insite is uncertain.
About Pivot Legal Society
Pivot’s mandate is to take a strategic approach to social change, using the law to address the root causes that undermine the quality of life of those most on the margins. We believe that everyone, regardless of income, benefits from a healthy and inclusive community where values such as opportunity, respect and equality are strongly rooted in the law.
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