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In pictures: 10 years of Vancouver's Insite facility

Canada's first-ever supervised injection site opened its doors on Sept. 21, 2003, and has shaped Canada's debate on drugs and harm reduction ever since

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A poster shows how to use a syringe safely at Insite on Aug. 23, 2006.


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Three of Vancouver's former mayors – Mike Harcourt, Philip Owen and Larry Campbell – join forces in support of Insite on Aug. 21, 2006. The following month, the federal Health Minister announced an extension to the site’s exemption that allowed Insite to operate for another 15 months.

RAFAL GERSZAK/The Globe and Mail

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Carmen Phillips sits among 1,000 crosses in Vancouver’s Crab Park on May 6, 2008. The crosses were raised to recognize the lives saved from drug overdoses at Insite. Phillips has many family and friends who have died of drug-related causes.

LAURA LEYSHON/The Globe and Mail

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Samantha Thomas, 40 stands in alleyway behind Insite on May 23, 2008, while holding onto a photo of herself from when she was much younger. Ms. Thomas, who has been off and on hard drugs since her teens, has been on a methadone program since shortly after Insite opened.


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Insite supporters enjoy a barbecue in Vancouver’s Victory Square on May 31, 2008, after the B.C. Supreme Court granted the clinic a permanent constitutional exemption. The court struck down provisions of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act that dealt with possession and trafficking, but gave Parliament a year to bring the law into compliance with the Constitution. Canada’s Attorney-General appealed the B.C. ruling.


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Registered nurse Sammy Mullally holds a tray of supplies to be used by a drug addict at the Insite clinic in Vancouver on May 11, 2011.


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Richard Chenery draws heroin he bought on the street into a syringe at the Insite clinic on May 11, 2011.


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Plaintiff Dean Wilson, a former user of Insite, reacts to the Supreme Court of Canada’s ruling allowing Insite to continue operations on Sept. 30, 2011.


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Insite users, supporters and staff members celebrate outside the facility on Sept. 30, 2011, after a Supreme Court of Canada ruling allowed the safe-injection site to continue running.

RAFAL GERSZAK/The Globe and Mail

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Delegates from Brazil and Colombia are shown overdose kits by Insite clinical co-ordinator Russ Maynard, middle, as they tour Onsite and Insite in the Downtown Eastside on June 25, 2013, as part of a search for a new approach to drug policies.

RAFAL GERSZAK/The Globe and Mail

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