Vancouver Opens First Authorized Drug Injection Site in Attempt to Curb HIV, Hepatitis C Transmission
September 17, 2003
North America's first authorized drug injection site for illegal drug users, which supporters say will help curb the spread of diseases such as HIV and hepatitis C, held its official opening on Monday in Vancouver, Canada, Reuters reports (Dowd, Reuters, 9/15). The government-funded facility includes 12 booths for injection drug users to inject drugs as well as a "chill-out" room, in which users can be monitored for overdoses, according to Viviana Zanocco, spokesperson for the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority. At the site, drug users receive clean needles, tourniquets, water and cotton balls, and a nurse supervises drug users' activities and provides them with referrals to detox centers and homeless shelters (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 6/30). The center, which will cost $1.46 million a year to run, will be open 18 hours a day and is expected to be used by up to 800 injection drugs users each day. The Vancouver Coastal Health Authority and the Portland Hotel Society will co-manage the site, and Evan Wood and Mark Tyndall of the British Columbia Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS will evaluate the project (O'Brian, Vancouver Sun, 9/15). The center is expected to open to drug users in approximately one week (Yearwood-Lee, Canadian Press, 9/15).
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This article was provided by Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. It is a part of the publication Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report. Visit the Kaiser Family Foundation's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.