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Can J Public Health. 2011 May-Jun;102(3):183-7.

[The impact of opening a heroin-assisted treatment clinic on the surrounding neighborhood].

[Article in French]

Author information

  • 1Ecole de criminologie, Université de Montréal, C.P. 6128, succursale Centre-ville, Montréal, QC H3C 3J7.



Heroin-assisted treatment clinics are currently the focus of a social debate. In spite of the clinics' effectiveness in reducing illicit opiate use, some decision-makers refuse to set them up because of their possible negative impact. These clinics could attract new drug users into the neighbourhood which could lead to an accumulation of injection debris and to a decrease in the sense of security in the community. This study assesses the impact on some elements observed in the surrounding community following the opening of the Montreal heroin-assisted treatment clinic.


Ethnographical walks were taken in order to collect data on the amount of injection debris, street debris and deviant activities. Data were then aggregated on a daily basis and our interrupted time series were analyzed using the segmented regression methodology.


Results show that the opening of the clinic was followed by a significant drop in the amount of injection and street debris. This reduction appears proportional to the number of clinic participants.


The Montreal heroin-assisted treatment clinic did not produce any negative impact on the surrounding community. In fact, implementation of this kind of clinic was followed by a positive effect on the neighbourhood. In addition to the ethnographical walks, further studies should include surveys in order to estimate the impact of heroin-assisted treatment clinics on residents' sense of security. Even if there appears to be a positive impact, it is possible that the mere presence of these clinics negatively affects community members' sense of security.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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