The war on drugs is surrounded in controversy from drug-control policy and recreational drug use to treatment of addicts and rising healthcare costs. Most countries have strict zero tolerance policies with society’s support – deeming the subject taboo and unethical, drugs as evil, and addicts as “bad” people. Canada as taken alternative measures in Vancouver’s Downtown East, which had “astronomical levels of HIV and drug overdose.” INSITE is a legal, supervised injection site offering a safe environment to use illicit drugs and to connect with healthcare services. The Canadian facility allows drug users to shoot-up safely without fear of arrest and with on-site medical assistant. The government-funded injection site is the only facility of its kind in North America. There is sufficient evidence that INSITE has public health benefits by lowering HIV and AIDS rates, but the subject is still controversial. Critiques argue harm reduction practices encourage drug users, perpetuate a problem, and give the “green light” on illicit drug use. Advocates claims INSITE saves lives, reconnects marginalized drug addicts with the community, has financial benefits to healthcare costs, and is overall beneficial to society. In first applying consequentialism to INSITE, it is clear the facility provides public health benefits for the larger community. When delving deeper, one must ask who are the beneficiaries of INSITE? Do harm reduction programs really help addicts or the general public? Is the action of opening INSITE causing unintended consequences? This paper will seek to understand INSITE and the consequential ethics behind it. Continue reading INSITE: A Consequential Problem or the Ethical Solution?
INSITE is North America’s first supervised drug injection site. The government approved and sponsored facility opened its doors in 2003 in the run-down, drug-infested nieghborhood of eastern Vancouver, Canada. On average, INSITE operates at capacity of 600 visits per day by drug users who come to safely shoot-up. INSITE provides drug users of heroin, cocaine, morphine, and other illegal substances with clean needles, a safe environment, on-site medical professionals, counseling, housing assistance, addiction services and mental health treatment. The facility does not provide any drugs and medical professionals do not do any injections. The extremely controversial facility has prevented 221 overdoses and has had no deaths to date.