Insite on HDNet

Dan Rather reports on Vancouver’s Insite program. (Warning: If seeing people shoot up is going to bother you, don’t watch it.)

http://video.google.com/googleplayer.swf?docId=6305707886890785771&hl=en

I had understood that Vancouver had serious problems with addiction and high HIV rates. It helps me understand the impulse for a radical response. However, in light of the severity of the problem, their response is not radical–it’s pathetic and constitutes abandonment. In a situation as dire as Vancouver, a radical response is needed, but that radical response should be to flood the community with comprehensive harm reduction AND treatment services. I understand that there may be real world limitations and tough decisions must be made, but I don’t hear anyone advocating for recovery-oriented services.

The video presents Insite as treatment inducement site, however, Insite’s own website reports that they’ve made 368 referrals to withdrawal management, a number that constitutes 5% of the unduplicated count of persons served. They also make reference to 1632 referrals to treatment, but the wording makes it sounds a little gamey–that, at best, they are passive referrals rather than an active linkage.

Bill White recently warned about the potential stigmatizing effects of our efforts to define addiction as a neurobiological disease without also describing the neurobiology of recovery. Several of the comments in the video do a great job illustrating his warning.

2 thoughts on “Insite on HDNet

  1. Well spotted Dan.It is also noted that the report from Insite makes no reference to any reduction in HIV or Hepatitis C rates, which here in the UK despite our plethora of Drug Consumption Rooms (DCRs)Supervised Injectgion sites and needle exchanges continue to rise.The spin Insite puts on crime is also interesting, since we were led to believe that such facilities would reduce crime.As for ‘recovery’ that is a word that never passes the lips of the highly influential pro drug lobby here.

  2. I watched the Rather piece. It was fair. Having worked the DES for a month awhile back no one could have an idea of the challenges the population (all) face. As with American cities there is nowhere near enough in patient treatment spots so talking recovery is like throwing one piece of bread to a monsterous flock of crows. The fact that INSITE exists is phenomenal progress and the access to counselors and people truly interested in reducing the harm of drug use is applauded by recovery professionals such as myself and my cohorts. Let’s hope it stays open.

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