Dr. Thomas Kerr and colleagues interviewed 458 active injection drug users in Vancouver, and 422 (92%) reported they were willing to use a safer injecting facility. When Health Canada guidelines were considered, only 141 (31%) said they were willing to use the facility. That number dropped to 103 (22%) when police surveillance entered the mix. The Health Canada restrictions, which are in place because of liability concerns, include prohibitions on sharing drugs and helping other drug users inject.
The researchers conclude that users' concerns about the Health Canada guidelines will have to be addressed. As well, "potentially harmful law enforcement practices in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside" will likely require "substantial modification" if the new facility is to be successful.
In a related commentary, Dr. Craig Fry of the University of Melbourne in Australia says Canada's experience with this pilot study will be of "significant interest" to international audiences.
Potential uptake of safer injecting facilities among injection drug users in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside -- Kerr T, Wood E, Small D, Palepu A, Tyndall WA
Safer injecting facilities in Vancouver: considering issues beyond potential uptake -- C. Fry