Dan Rather reports on Vancouver’s Insite program. (Warning: If seeing people shoot up is going to bother you, don’t watch it.)
I had understood that Vancouver had serious problems with addiction and high HIV rates. It helps me understand the impulse for a radical response. However, in light of the severity of the problem, their response is not radical–it’s pathetic and constitutes abandonment. In a situation as dire as Vancouver, a radical response is needed, but that radical response should be to flood the community with comprehensive harm reduction AND treatment services. I understand that there may be real world limitations and tough decisions must be made, but I don’t hear anyone advocating for recovery-oriented services.
The video presents Insite as treatment inducement site, however, Insite’s own website reports that they’ve made 368 referrals to withdrawal management, a number that constitutes 5% of the unduplicated count of persons served. They also make reference to 1632 referrals to treatment, but the wording makes it sounds a little gamey–that, at best, they are passive referrals rather than an active linkage.
Bill White recently warned about the potential stigmatizing effects of our efforts to define addiction as a neurobiological disease without also describing the neurobiology of recovery. Several of the comments in the video do a great job illustrating his warning.