I came to Vancouver to see what can be learned as we debate safe consumption in California, where more than 6,000 people die each year from overdoses. Think about that. Six thousand is the roughly number of Californians who die each year from traffic accidents and firearms combined. Across the U.S., one person dies every five minutes from an overdose. In California, on average, 16 perish daily.
The Justice Department said it is “evaluating” the potential use of safe injection sites for people to take heroin and other narcotics with protections against fatal overdoses.
Critics say supervised injection sites encourage drug use and bring crime to surrounding communities. Proponents argue that they save lives and can help people in addiction reconnect with society and get health services.
Best evidence from cohort and modeling studies suggests that SISs are associated with lower overdose mortality (88 fewer overdose deaths per 100 000 person-years [PYs]), 67% fewer ambulance calls for treating overdoses, and a decrease in HIV infections. Effects on hospitalizations are unknown.
A meta-analysis reviewing the evidence on safe injection sites has been retracted due to “methodological weaknesses.”
An injecting centre provides the setting and the possibility for a new type of connection with our clients. The power of suspending judgement for those who are the most judged and vilified in our society can be transformative.
But the supporters of the bill aren’t relying on anything so malleable as belief. Instead they cite decades of scientific research demonstrating that supervised consumption sharply reduces the incidence of death, disease and infection among injection drug users. There is also ample evidence that coercive treatment fails, 12-step programs work only five to 10 percent of the time, and supervised consumption often serves as a pathway to voluntary treatment. Within two years of its opening in 2003, North America’s first supervised consumption site, Insite in Vancouver, Canada, was associated with a 30 percent increase in detox enrollment. Later studies have confirmed that the trend continues.
Across North America, tainted opioids are killing people who use drugs. Vancouver’s Mark Tyndall says we should start dispensing safer pills using high-tech machines.
Safehouse, a nonprofit in Philadelphia, seeks to open a site where people can use drugs in a safe and sanitary environment with help to avoid overdose fatalities. Federal prosecutors sued the nonprofit in February, arguing it would violate federal law by creating a place for people to use illegal drugs such as heroin and bootleg fentanyl.
Cities including New York, San Francisco and Seattle, where there are also plans to add safe sites for drug users, filed a brief Wednesday in support of the Philadelphia nonprofit.
A new study found that, all other things being equal, people were more likely to support "overdose prevention sites" opening in their community.
he facilities provide a supervised setting to use drugs. Proponents say they save lives. Opponents say they normalize drug use.
Fentanyl has perhaps been the most intractable part of the opioid crisis, but new strategies being deployed in San Francisco and Philadelphia might help.
It may seem counterintuitive: Give drug users space and support to inject themselves with potentially deadly substances, even while encouraging them to stop.
But dozens of studies suggest that these sites curtail overdose deaths and increase participation in drug treatment. Despite millions of injections that have occurred at more than 90 facilities internationally over the past three decades, not a single overdose death has been recorded.
There is little cause for celebration, health officials and epidemiologists say. The death rate remains swollen by powerful synthetic opioids like fentanyl, and Mr. Anderson warned a new, deadly analog could arrive anytime. The rise of methamphetamines and related deaths remains a worrisome trend.
Of course, safe injection sites will never be a whole or one-size-fits-all solution for Americans' opioid abuse and other drug problems. Davidson noted that many U.S. users are in rural and suburban areas, as is the case in his native Australia, and such users are unlikely to drive or find transport for a fair distance to visit a centralized site serving a large region.
Supervised injecting facilities – sometimes known as overdose prevention centres or drug consumption rooms – are a critical tool in ending the overdose crisis. These are places where people are allowed to inject illegal drugs in hygienic conditions in the supportive presence of medical staff and peer workers.
They are primarily intended to provide services for vulnerable, poor or homeless people who would otherwise inject in public places – such as alleys or parks.
It has seen no deaths, no apparent neighborhood problems, and the onsite reversal of four overdoses. As a condition of their research, the authors of the paper did not disclose the facility's location as it's unsanctioned and potentially illegal.
The misconceptions that they promote drug-use and increase criminal activity in the surrounding neighbourhoods have long been dispelled.
Most Americans right now oppose supervised injection sites. A 2018 study from Johns Hopkins University found that only 29 percent of people approve of them, with 39 percent of people supporting similar programs like clean needle exchanges.
Nonetheless, there is a growing consensus among researchers that these facilities work.
Founded in 2006, InSite for Community Safety is a broad banner under which supporters of InSite have come together to defend, promote and encourage others across Canada and the World to deliver humane, inclusive and pragmatic initiatives that improve the lives of drug users and their communities.