Vancouver's addiction ambitions, revisited (Dr. Thomas Kerr, Dr. Evan Wood)

In the late 1990s and early 2000s, drug policy pulsed at the heart of Vancouver's municipal politics. In 2002, Larry Campbell, the former RCMP officer turned chief coroner, carried his newly adopted COPE party into city hall by campaigning on a harm reduction platform. These ideas—clean needle distribution, supervised injection sites, and methadone—were presented as pragmatic solutions to the harms associated with drug use.

Thomas Kerr, a researcher at the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS, credits Insite and The Four Pillars for reducing cases of HIV, hepatitis C and drug overdose deaths.

Evan Wood, the newly appointed Medical Director for Addiction Services at Vancouver Coastal Health, recently told reporters that St. Paul's emergency room has seen an 89 per cent increase in hospitalizations related to addiction over the past four years.

Gordon Katic and Sam Fenn report

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