Police oppose 'harmful' site for addicts North America's only supervised drug injection site has won a last-minute reprieve from the Canadian government to keep it alive. Supporters of the site, which is in Vancouver's downtown Eastside, had lobbied for the federal government to continue allowing addicts who use the facility an exemption from federal drug laws. The facility, which opened on September 12, 2003, is run by the provincial government but needs the federal government's support. Nurses inside the clinic, which has 12 booths for addicts to inject drugs they bring in, help with medical attention, and new needles and sterile equipment is provided. The federal government had to provide an exemption before next Tuesday if users were to avoid arrest for violating Canada's drug laws. Late on Friday, federal Health Minister Tony Clement said more questions needed answers, which is why he is giving the site an exemption only until December 31, 2007. 'Do safe injection sites contribute to lowering drug use and fighting addiction? Right now the only thing the research to date has proven conclusively is drug addicts need more help to get off drugs,' he said. The lower levels of government and the Vancouver Police Department urged the federal government to give the site another 31/2-year exemption. But the national police force - the Royal Canadian Mounted Police - and the Canadian Police Association are against the site. 'We can't stand by and have this message out that it's okay,' said Tom Stamatakis, president of the Vancouver Police Union. 'This is harmful, devastating and destructive and we should focus our strategy on education and treatment.' But Diane Tobin, president of the Vancouver Area Network Drug Users, said the facility had saved lives and despite granting a shorter exemption than supporters had hoped for, the government had made the right decision. 'It means that we can continue and we can continue making sure people aren't dying on the streets and alleyways,' she said.