Mark Tyndall: The harm reduction model of drug addiction treatment
Mark Tyndall - Epidemiologist, physician, public health expert
Mark Tyndall has dedicated his career to studying HIV, poverty and drug use in multiple places around the world, starting with Nairobi, and now in Vancouver. Full bio
that I saw people injecting drugs.
to lead a research project
infamous Downtown East Side.
project that gave rooms
people in the city,
standing on the stairs
state of affairs, the drug use,
the soaring rates of HIV,
health emergency in 1997.
expanding harm reduction services,
a supervised injection site.
drugs less hazardous.
as some sort of radical concept.
to carry a clean needle.
to be arrested
supervised injection sites
Baltimore and New York
everything we know about addiction.
that any drug use will not be tolerated?
countless personal stories
reduction doesn't stop people
and far too many die.
we are giving up on people
on treatment and recovery.
is ever going to happen
or a safe place to inject
treatment and recovery.
our children about drug users.
these drug users are our children.
is that while drugs can hurt you,
people who are addicted.
advertisement for drug use.
or a supervised injection site.
people sick and hurting,
injection sites, for example.
health intervention ever.
with fresh needles,
injecting in a dingy alley,
and hiding out from police.
in Vancouver was at 327 Carol Street,
a few chairs and a box of clean needles.
for people who were injecting drugs.
commitment and compassion
and used the site.
that things would get better.
they'd stop using drugs altogether.
to North America's
supervised injection site, called INSITE.
as a three-year research project.
closing it down at the end of the study.
the battle to close INSITE
Canada's Supreme Court.
long history of drug use
of keeping INSITE open by nine to zero.
their response to the government's case.
of INSITE to the population that it serves
of death and disease
is grossly disproportionate to any benefit
on the possession of narcotics."
for harm reduction.
from the Supreme Court,
any new sites in Canada.
that happened in December of 2016,
the opening of overdose prevention sites.
federal approval process,
about 22 of these de facto illegal
across the province.
use drugs under supervision.
by Naloxone, and nobody died.
at INSITE over the last 14 years:
have injected illegal drugs
and successes from needle exchanges
compassionate approaches to drug use
programs taken off?
that drug use is law enforcement issue?
drug users goes very deep.
images and media stories
that bring down drug dealers.
by building more jails
only crime is using drugs.
of incarceration, violence and poverty
and not the drugs themselves.
that drug users deserve care and support
and handcuffs and jail cells?
to institutionalize stigma.
to stop people from using them.
false narrative about drug use.
that drug users
want to get high,
own personal failings
of crime and poverty,
and, ultimately, their lives.
sexual abuse, mental illness
as we approach people with so much trauma.
are really a social justice issue.
deaths like Prince and Michael Jackson,
living on the margins,
drug use is highly stigmatized.
the health care system.
engaged in clinical care
they will be treated poorly.
cocaine or crystal meth
a barrage of questions
to expose their losses and shame.
living on the street?"
don't you stop using drugs?"
approach to drug use is upside down.
is the best way to treat this.
you may get into a detox program.
with Suboxone or methadone,
what they desperately need to survive:
like asking a new diabetic to quit sugar
to start running marathons
the most extreme option.
as complex as addiction?
crisis is unprecedented.
of a drug overdose in 2016,
the leading cause of death
20 and 50 years old in North America
storm around opioids.
Percocet and Dilaudid
for decades for all kinds of pain.
Americans are daily opioid users,
for opioids last year.
prescription drugs into communities
for people wanting to self-medicate.
has greatly reduced the street supply
a steady supply of prescription drugs
has tragically switched
potent and extremely hard to dose.
any other kind of poisoning epidemic?
or baby formula or coffee?
this as a true emergency.
supplying safer alternatives.
the victims and their families.
and the people who use them
into law enforcement.
fund and scale up
across North America.
lifeline to care and treatment.
without harm reduction.
of people who are alive today
an impact on this drug crisis,
conversation about prohibition
first and foremost a public health issue
and health solutions.
for how this can work.
having its own drug crisis.
drugs, high crime rates
and decriminalized all drug possession.
and rehabilitation programs.
given their lives back.
of prohibition, punishment and prejudice
indifferent to the suffering
most vulnerable people in our society.
people will get caught up
that their mother or father
has died of a drug overdose.
About the speaker:Mark Tyndall - Epidemiologist, physician, public health expert
Mark Tyndall has dedicated his career to studying HIV, poverty and drug use in multiple places around the world, starting with Nairobi, and now in Vancouver.
Why you should listen
Mark Tyndall is an epidemiologist, physician and public health expert. An early advocate for harm reduction programs, Tyndall was at the forefront of North America's first legally sanctioned supervised injection facility, INSITE, established in Vancouver in 2003. Since then, studies have shown that safe injection sites save lives, reduce transmission of disease and help people access addiction treatment and other medical services. A proponent of evidence-based public health policy and interventions, Tyndall has authored more than 250 academic papers and has received multiple honors for his work. He is currently the Director of the British Columbia Centre for Disease Control and a professor at the School of Population and Public Health at the University of British Columbia.
Mark Tyndall | Speaker | TED.com