The federal government cannot constitutionally close Vancouver’s supervised drug-injection site for at least a year, a judge ruled yesterday.

Drug addicts deserve access to health-care treatment provided by InSite in the same way that people who use alcohol or tobacco, B.C. Supreme Court judge Ian Pitfield ruled.

Supporters of the facility had gone to court to block Ottawa’s bid to shut it down, which requires a special exemption from Canada’s drug laws to remain open.

Liz Evans, executive director of the PHS Community Services Society, which operates InSite, said the decision confirms “what doctors and nurses have known for years.”

“Addiction is a health-care issue, and that InSite is a vital part of how our health-care system treats this tragic disease,” Evans said.

She added that, since InSite opened, there have been more than 1 million injections take place under the supervision of nurses, and close to 1,000 overdose interventions prevented.

“And not one single fatality,” Evans said.