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Criminals and Drug Addicts or an Area of Vancouver Making Changes

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Trois-Rivieres, Quebec, Canada 8/06/2009 02:46 GMT

The downtown east-side of Vancouver is definitely one of the more popular downtown sections of any major city in Canada.  It’s not necessarily popular for its breathtaking sites and tourist attractions, unless you are filming an in-depth documentary on drug addiction, crime, and prostitution, which has been done with much success.  This particular section of Vancouver; however, does have some significant history to it, when speaking about drug addiction.  Operating primarily with a harm reduction program, it was the place for one of the first free needle exchange programs in North America, started by John Turvey.  When the Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users program (VANDU) first started in 1989, they managed to give out close to 130 thousand free needles to local drug users.  Since then, close to three million needles are given out each year to over ten thousand addicts.

In 2003, one of the first safe injection sites opened in the downtown east-side.   In 1998 there were 396 drug overdoses in the city of Vancouver, and when 2008 rolled around there were only 133 drug overdoses.  “Harm reduction does look out for the safety of the addict especially in preventing the spread of disease and infection,” says Nick Hayes, a representative of Narconon Trois-Rivieres, “this combined with effective treatment can help lower the recidivism rate.”  In 1997, there were close to 1200 arrests in the downtown east-side, which made up of 75% of the cities total arrests.  In 2002, there were 1782 arrests made, but this only comprised of 36% of the total arrests in the city of Vancouver.  For more information call 1-877-782-7409, or visit the Narconon drug rehab website at,

(Ref:  The Province “Did you know… Drug arrests waning, drug deaths also down” 7 July 2009:

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Written by Nick Hayes

August 7th, 2009 at 8:39 am