My two colleagues and collaborators, Alex Kral and Peter Davidson, just published a paper in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine examining an unsanctioned supervised injection site in the U.S. They discuss the role of such sites in a comprehensive public health response to overdose and injection-related risks.
Kral as Davidson say: "This proof-of-concept evaluation has brought up a number of potential benefits for people who use the site and the surrounding community. Supervision of injections by trained staff ensures that overdoses are identified and responded to immediately. It also provides opportunities for real-time education about safer injection practice, potentially reducing the future incidence of soft tissue infection and other injection-related morbidities. Being able to inject in a clean, well-lit space equipped with sterile equipment, where there is no need to rush due to fear of detection, may also reduce injection-related injury and disease. By contrast, more than 80% of people who used the site reported having to always, often, or sometimes rush injections when injecting outside the site. More than 90% of people using the site reported that, if not for the site, they would have been injecting in a public restroom, street, park, or parking lot. As such, this site has averted over 2,300 instances of public injection in the neighborhood during a 2-year period. The proportion (67%) reporting recent unsafe disposal of used equipment is very high. In contrast, all syringes from injections at the supervised injection site were safely disposed, representing an estimated 1,725 (67% of 2,574) episodes of averted public disposal of injection equipment. The site facilitates constructive discussions about how to mitigate negative consequences of their drug use, and allows for conversations related to entering substance use treatment programs."
See the full manuscript here.
Media coverage here.