Canada: Injection Site Could Save Millions -- Report
October 11, 2006
A supervised injection site for IV drug users (IDUs) in Victoria would cost $1.2 million Canadian ($1.1 million US) to operate but could save $3 million Canadian ($2.7 million US) in health care costs and hospital visits each year, according to a business estimate by the Vancouver Island Health Authority (VIHA).
According to the report, a few safe injection sites for the area's estimated 2,000 IDUs could prevent seven annual overdose deaths and save money by preventing more than 1,100 emergency room visits ($444,000 Canadian; $395,000 US) and 2,000 hospital admissions ($2.4 million Canadian; $2.1 million US). The estimates are a "very preliminary" business case for safe injection sites, intended to bolster a more comprehensive study underway by Benedikt Fischer at the Center for Addictions Research B.C., said VIHA Chief Medical Officer Richard Stanwick.
The Addictions Research B.C. study will be submitted to Health Canada in an early spring application to exempt a safe injection pilot project from Canada's drug laws, said Victoria Mayor Alan Lowe.
In September, Health Canada delayed a decision on a 3.5-year operating exemption for Insite, Vancouver's supervised injection site. Health Minister Tony Clements has called for further studies. Lowe said he remains optimistic that more study could seal the public health case.
Montreal and Toronto have also expressed interest in supervised injection sites. Such sites would be part of a broader harm-reduction strategy aimed at linking IDUs to health, treatment and social services. Besides preventing overdoses, the sites could reduce the spread of hepatitis C and HIV infections through shared injection equipment, advocates say.
10.07.2006; Cindy E. Harnett; Rob Shaw
This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.