The Case for Safe Injection Sites

The Case for Safe Injection Sites
Word Count: 750
Referencing format: APA
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Harm reduction for injection drugs users started with community based programs
to provide clean needles and has grown to include supervised injection facilities. It is
critical to discuss the impacts of harm reduction and supervised injection sites on society
and on people with substance addictions. This article examines 'Embraced by the Needle',
written by the physician Gabor Mate, examining how the doctor contextualizes addiction
and the impacts of safe injection sites. In so doing, this essay will argue the thesis that
safe injection sites are necessary because they provide a valuable space where drug users
can feel safe, contributing ultimately to a lack of harm to themselves and the wider
community as a whole.
The article begins by discussing the psychology of addictions and the case of
Vancouver‟s Downtown Eastside, one of the most poverty stricken areas in the entire
country. Many who are addicted to drugs and inhabit this area also suffer from mental
illness, Mate writes, “like Anna, a 32-year old poet, many are HIV positive or have fullblow AIDS” as well. According to Mate, “the methadone I prescribe for their opiate
dependence does little for the emotional anguish compressed in every heartbeat of these
driven souls,” he writes. The use of methadone as a treatment for opiate addiction is part
of what compassionate physicians like Mate describe to help patients wean off opiate
addictions. According to Mate, “methadone starves off the torment of opiate withdrawal,
but, unlike heroin, it does not create a „high‟ for regular users.” Mate explains his
methodology on the basis that physical and emotion ailments often undermine addiction. 
Works Cited
Mate, G. (2013). Embraced by the Needle. Available online: (Accessed October 28th

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