Supreme Court decides Insite drug injection clinic can stay open

This article was last updated on April 16, 2022

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Canada’s Supreme Court allows opening well-controlled drug injection clinics in the country in a verdict on Friday that suggested the federal government to bring an end to unnecessary interference in Vancouver’s controversial Insite clinic.

Supreme Court was convinced by facts that drug addicts are significantly safer managing their own injections under medical surveillance instead of obtaining and injecting hard drugs on the streets of the city’s disturbed Downtown Eastside.

The court announced: “During its eight years of operation, Insite has been proven to save lives with no discernible negative impact on the public safety and health objectives of Canada. The effect of denying the services of Insite to the population it serves and the correlative increase in the risk of death and disease to injection drug users is grossly disproportionate to any benefit that Canada might derive from presenting a uniform stance on the possession of narcotics.”

It also mentioned that the cost of stopping the work of the clinic could have “grave consequences” that only a direct court order can be certain that the spirit of the verdict would not be overreached.

The Court said in a 9-0 ruling: “On future applications, the Minister must exercise that discretion within the constraints imposed by the law and the Charter, aiming to strike the appropriate balance between achieving public health and public safety.”

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