When Insite—North America’s first legally-sanctioned safe-injection facility in Vancouver, British Columbia—opened its doors in 2003, it did so with a government exemption from federal drug laws.

When the government changed hands in 2006 and decided to remove harm reduction as one of the pillars of its drug strategy, Insite began a long, legal fight to defend its ability to continue providing life-saving services to people vulnerable to infection and overdose.

That fight ended triumphantly on September 30, 2011, with the Supreme Court of Canada’s landmark decision allowing Insite to remain open, and opening the door to more such facilities in other Canadian jurisdictions. (Already, since the decision, the Province of Quebec has shown interest in opening safe-injection facilities of its own.) The Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network, which intervened in the case as part of an international coalition, applauded the decision in the joint statement available below.

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