The chief medical health officer for Vancouver Coastal Health says she supports opening a designated space in the city for people to legally smoke crack cocaine.
But Dr. Patricia Daly said she would only support such a facility if it were opened solely for the purposes of a scientific study to examine its effect on crack smokers.
"We're not saying let's open it now," Daly told the Courier. "We're saying if you're going to do it, you need to do it in the context of a research study."
That approach, she said, was taken with the Insite supervised drug injection site on East Hastings, which opened in September 2003 as a three-year scientific experiment.
Several studies done by various researchers showed Insite reduced needle sharing and the spread of infectious diseases and hooked up users with treatment and housing.
Vancouver Coastal Health operates Insite in conjunction with the PHS Community Services Society. Both operators have said no one has died of an overdose at Insite, despite an average of 600 injections per day.