Court decision on Insite safe-injection project coming Friday

For Donovan Mahoney, the Insite facility in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside was more than just a safe place to turn to for drugs.

Since 2004, he’s checked in at the clinic about 1,000 times for heroine, cocaine and morphine injections but he credits the controversial site for helping him get to treatment when he was ready and for housing him while he works on transitioning from life on the street.

He was sitting in a Maple Ridge, B.C., jail for petty crime when he called on the people he’d met at Insite for help.

“By then, I kind of burnt a lot of bridges so the people I had to turn to when I was in jail (were) these guys,” he said.

“They went all the way out to Maple Ridge and drove me out to Miracle Valley (Treatment Centre). It was my first real crack at treatment.”

On Friday, the Supreme Court of Canada will announce its landmark decision on whether North America’s first supervised injection site for addicts, will be allowed to operate without a federal government legal exemption from drug laws.

Should the Supreme Court not rule in Insite’s favour, the organization would need to continue to rely on a federal government exemption to remain open.