Safe injection site and needle exchange
To reduce the harm caused by drug use, Vancouver provides a supervised injection site (Insite) and needle exchange programs.
Supervised injection site (Insite)
Insite, Vancouver's supervised injection site, offers a solution to the negative health effects and public disorder caused by the open drug scene in the Downtown Eastside.
Supervised injection sites are safe, health-focused places where people can inject drugs under the care of medical professionals.
How supervised injection sites help our communities
The benefits to offering supervised injection sites include:
- Reduces number of overdose deaths
- Provide a safe, clean, and secure place for users to inject while reducing the visibility of drug consumption on the street
- Provides an opportunity for multiple contacts with health care staff, social workers, and other individuals who can help users move toward healthier choices, such as drug treatment programs, primary health care, and other social services
- Reduces HIV and hepatitis C transmission, and ensures that injecting equipment remains inside and is not discarded in the community
- Reduces risks to the community as the open consumption of drugs can be more easily discouraged
Needle exchange programs
Vancouver Coastal Health offers needle exchange services where people can dispose of used needles in a safe and legal way. They also provide clean needles, sterile water, alcohol wipes and health information to encourage safer injecting practices.
The goals of the needle exchange services are to:
- Reduce the spread of HIV, Hepatitis C, and other diseases
- Reduce the number of discarded needles in public and the incidence of needle-stick injuries.