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torontosun.com, April 07, 2011

Layton still supports injection site

COURTENAY, B.C. - Jack Layton says the NDP will continue to stand behind a controversial safe injection site in Vancouver, which the federal government is fighting to shut down in Canada's top court.

The Conservatives want to put an end to Insite, a medical facility where chronic drug users can safely shoot up and stay clear of criminal charges. It first legal safe injection site in North America and operates in Vancouver's Downtown East Side. Several studies suggest it prevents the spread of disease and reduces drug-related crimes.

"It really fits in with the notion of prevention," said Layton, who believes the facilities should be opened in other parts of the country.

"To try and drive people further and further into an underground world simply accelerates and magnifies the amount of crime you're going to have associated with it."

The battle over the safe injection site boils down to a question of jurisdiction - some say it is a health issue and should be handled by the province. But the Tories say this is a criminal issue and it should be up to the federal government to decide the facility's fate.

The Supreme Court of Canada is set to review the case on May 12.

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