This article seeks to answer an important question about Insite. (Vancouver’s injection center.) How much does the program save in health care costs?
The argue that the $3 million annual investment in Insite saves nearly $18 million due to and estimated 84 avoided HIV infections.
This begs the question, what else could be done with $3 million that would also prevent 84 HIV infections?
Dawn Farm’s annual budget is just over $3 million. We’ll serve more than 2000 people this year in 140 transitional housing beds, 49 long term residential treatment beds, 18 detox beds, outpatient services and corrections outreaches. This is pure speculation, but I suspect that in a high-HIV environment like Vancouver, I suspect we’d prevent at least as many infections and save much more by moving people into recovery.
Which is a better investment of scarce resources?
If low-threshold drug-free treatment and recovery support services were proven to provide a similar or better return on investment (as measured by reductions in disease transmission), would Insite supporters resist shifting resources toward those programs? I suspect they would. If so, then it’s not just about HIV, is it? What then? Values?