It's been 20 years since Insite opened its doors in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside.
It was the first sanctioned supervised injection site in North America and, for many years, its operation remained contentious.
Today, those involved in operating the site, and defending it against legal and political challenges over the last two decades, gathered on East Hastings Street to mark the milestone.
"Insite was a really important step forward in terms of drug policy and harm reduction, and to be here 20 years after we opened, it just feels incredible," said Jeff West, manager of harm reduction for Vancouver Coastal Health.
Insite has been co-managed by the health authority and the PHS Community Services Society since its inception, and West has been involved from the beginning.
"Not only was Insite important to the community as a safe space, a symbol of a more progressive drug policy, it also is a really important public health intervention," said West.
West said the site was a critical lifeline for people in the community in the face of overdose deaths and the spread of HIV, which he said was moving rapidly through the Downtown Eastside when Insite opened in September 2003.