Talons Philosophy

An Open Online Highschool Philosophy Course


kirsten- an insight on insite

Vancouver was one of the first cities in Canada to start condoning safe injection sites for drug use. This is a controversial that has brought many discussions about the nature of these projects. The hope behind these safe injection sites is to decrease the number of overdoses in the area, and provide a clean and therefor safer environment for drug users. There have been many skeptics to this idea. One opinion expressed in thelinknewspaper.ca claims that the project is going to

“make the vehicle for drug abuse easier to access”

and cost cities too much to maintain. The Insite supervised injection site costs Vancouver just under $3 million annually to pay for clean supplies and worker pay.  I decided to look further into the arguments of the movement apposing the Insite project and ones like it all across Canada.

Premise 1: taking narcotics such as heroin and methamphetamine is an irresponsible and dangerous act.

True: Heroin is a hard drug that is often injected through needles. It creates a reaction in the human brain that releases dopamine and creates feelings of pleasure. This is a dangerous drug that has long term effects on mental and physical states, and users face a high risk of overdose.http://healthycanadians.gc.ca

Premise 2: supervised injection sites are a place open to the public designed for drug users to inject narcotics into their bodies.

True: Safe injection sites are open to anyone who may want a place to use needles or would like help with their drug use.

Conclusion: by cities supporting these sites, they are encouraging the use of hard drugs by making the narcotics easier and more accessible to the public.

Not valid: there is a flaw in the link between the two premises and the conclusion. There is often a misconception of the second premise where people will mistake the support for people on drugs as supporting the action of taking narcotics. These are two very different things, as supporting drug users is ensuring that people are safe while they are high, and trying to find ways to allow the ill to become strong and well once again. Many of these sites also provide help for people who struggle with mental illness and HIV/AIDS. By implementing theses places, the cities are not condoning to illegal drug use, but instead providing a place for those who are already struggling with addiction and abuse.

“Insite is the first rung on the ladder from chronic drug addiction to possible recovery”


The argument against these establishments may seem easy to support as it is hard to believe that heavy drug users are willing to use these facilities. Many of the arguments question whether or not it is worth our Canadian tax dollars to fund these establishments if they may or may not even be making improvements. Fortunately, there are facts produced by Insite that show the program is doing good things for the people who access the facility. In 2015 alone there were 263,713 visits to the site by 6,532 unique individuals with an average of 722 visits per day with approximately 440 of those visits to the injection room. In the span of a year there were 5,359 clinical treatment interventions. This means over five thousand lives were saved thanks to this program in a single year. By supporting and funding programs like this one, our city is creating a safe environment for those who are suffering and our help the most.

For more information and statistics please visit http://www.vch.ca/your-health/health-topics/supervised-injection/



6 Responses to kirsten- an insight on insite

  1. jasmin says:

    Hi Kirsten! I really enjoyed reading about your thoughts on this topic and I would like to commend you on what I found to be a very thoughtful and well put together post! I think you touched on perhaps one of the most important issues surrounding the concept of safe injection sites which is the misconception that the program aims to support the act of using narcotics itself. I believe it is very important to outline the difference between support for the act itself and support for the addict and I think you’ve done a good job of that.

  2. ashlee says:

    Heya Kirsten!

    Before I say anything, I just want to tell you how amazed I am by your post! I have so much respect for you, for being able to maturely handle such sensitive topic. It takes a lot of courage and thought to process ideas like this, well done!

    I really appreciated how your post was very easy to follow, and how you linked us to credible sources. I think you should be proud of how it wasn’t contaminated with purely your opinions, which would’ve drawn away the focus, which is “logic”. I think by you adding to each premise of its truth and validity added to the quality of this post.

    Overall, well done! I would love to discuss this with you in person sometime too! It’s something I’ve tried to construct my opinion on for a while now, I still don’t have a very solid idea on this very topic, but your post made me think much deeper about this issue. I stand stronger in what I used to believe, and I thank you for that!

    Stay cool :)

  3. Sam Jones says:

    Hey Kirsten!
    I really liked the topic you chose to write about as it is quite a prevalent issue in Vancouver today. You did well backing up your premises, as well as providing links and research links to show your thoroughness. One thing I may have done differently is explain the pro’s and con’s of having a facility so controversial open up opportunities to the drug users like this! To also be looking at it from a more objective point of view, it doesn’t seem to be fixing the actual drug problem itself, but I do agree that this is an excellent way of making the drugs much safer, as well as creating a sense of stability in these people’s lives.
    Over all I thought this was very well written, and your title was very witty! Well done.

  4. emmaf says:

    Hey Kirsten,

    I’m glad you brought up this issue; Vancouver is very unique in the ways in which it handles drug use and addiction, and I’ve been recently trying to find my own footing with some of the city’s approaches.

    I appreciate the amount of info you’ve included in your post to help us understand the issue. I’ve tried to strip away the info into the bare-bone premises and conclusion- let me know if this still represents your [invalid] argument.

    1: Narcotics are harmful.
    2: Supervised injection site permit drug users to inject narcotics.
    3: Cities are encouraging narcotic use by supporting these supervised injection sites

    If you would agree that this is equivalent with your argument, I would also agree that it is invalid. Supposedly, the city creates sites like these to provide services to existing drug users, NOT to encourage non-drug users to begin using. This misconception might arise in your argument because of the ambiguity of the word ‘encourage’. In a way, the city of Vancouver is enabling drug use for existing addicts, and even this replacement (“encourage” to “enable”) is still unclear. Can we really pinpoint the municipal government’s intentions in a syllogism? We may have to examine the roots of Insite to explore that further:

    Firstly, I can definitely see the argument for programs like Insite. Because they reduce the chances of overdose and contamination, Vancouver is spending less money on emergency services and healthcare. An additional argument that I’ve heard is that these sites are fundamentally more ‘humanizing’ than the alternative to drug users (ie. unclean, urban environments like alleyways and public spaces). This ‘humanization’ at Insite is supposedly derived from the fact that a drug user’s needs are recognized and catered to in a safe, supervised environment.

    Most importantly however, Insite is a part of a recovery program. The municipal government supposedly intends to use this program as the first step towards destroying drug dependence for addicts. Thus, they enable drug use to eventually eradicate it. It definitely seems backwards and perhaps the argument that you analyzed in your post may have been of too simple a format to address these sorts of intricacies.

    On another note, another drug program in Vancouver that has caused a lot of controversy is a clinic that directly provides heroin to addicts with no pretense of a recovery program. Check out the info here (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wFpxb0M8KjU). Do you think a program like this truly ‘encourages’ drug use? How do you think the values of this program differ from Insite? I have a few ideas, and am interested to hear what ya think!

    Thanks again for the post!

    • kirsten says:

      Hi emma,
      Thanks so much for looking further into this topic and I completely think that your argument reflects what I was trying to say about insite. The video that you linked was interesting and heartbreaking watch that made me think about where drawing the line for drug abuse should come in. I support the idea of making heroin safer for those on the streets of Vancouver, but I have yet to d decide whether giving addicts heroin is the correct path. I do think implementing a way to rehabilitation and recovery would be very beneficial to this clinic as an option for those suffering from drug abuse. Supplying a pure and unlaced version of heroin may be the next best thing to getting clean, but as I said before, I am not sure if I am simply letting my empathy for those in trouble cloud my thinking, but I am highly considering condoning providing heroin for heroin addicts to increase their chances of life. I will definitely have to spend more time to make up my mind but thanks so much for the thought provoking link!
      Sincerely kirsten

  5. hana says:

    Hi Kirsten!

    I really liked your post and the research you did on this topic is shown and really pays off! Your organization of thoughts and knowledge on this topic help back up your opinion on the validity, soundness, and truthfulness of the premises. As Vancouver is one of the main cities in Canada dealing with the issue of overdoses and drug addictions, safe injection sites are really important to have. Nevertheless, I can see where the argument against having them can come from (not that I agree with the arguments because it’s definitely better to have a safer environment for drug users). I think many people would like to see their money going towards helping these people get help and recover from their addiction. Hopefully in the near future these sites will also offer a treatment and recovery plan/method for users. What are your thoughts on this? Once again thanks for your post on such a great topic and sharing your opinion!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *