Is Vancouver Canada's supervised injection facility cost-saving?

Addiction. 2010 Aug;105(8):1429-36. doi: 10.1111/j.1360-0443.2010.02977.x.


Objective: To determine whether Vancouver's Insite supervised injection facility and syringe exchange programs are cost-saving--that is, are the savings due to averted HIV-related medical care costs sufficient to offset Insite's operating costs?

Methods: The analyses examined the impact of Insite's programs for a single year. Mathematical models were used to calculate the number of additional HIV infections that would be expected if Insite were closed. The life-time HIV-related medical costs associated with these additional infections were compared to the annual operating costs of the Insite facility.

Results: If Insite were closed, the annual number of incident HIV infections among Vancouver IDU would be expected to increase from 179.3 to 262.8. These 83.5 preventable infections are associated with $17.6 million (Canadian) in life-time HIV-related medical care costs, greatly exceeding Insite's operating costs, which are approximately $3 million per year.

Conclusions: Insite's safe injection facility and syringe exchange program substantially reduce the incidence of HIV infection within Vancouver's IDU community. The associated savings in averted HIV-related medical care costs are more than sufficient to offset Insite's operating costs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • British Columbia / epidemiology
  • Cost Savings / statistics & numerical data
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • HIV Infections / economics
  • HIV Infections / epidemiology*
  • HIV Infections / prevention & control
  • Health Care Costs / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Models, Statistical
  • Needle Sharing / statistics & numerical data*
  • Needle-Exchange Programs / economics*
  • Needle-Exchange Programs / organization & administration
  • Needle-Exchange Programs / statistics & numerical data
  • Prevalence
  • Substance Abuse, Intravenous / complications
  • Substance Abuse, Intravenous / economics
  • Substance Abuse, Intravenous / epidemiology*
  • Syringes / statistics & numerical data
  • Urban Population