SIFs: The Next Step for Public Health-Based Drug Policy in Colorado

Supervised injection facilities (SIFs), also known as safer injection facilities or supervised consumption services (SCS), are legally sanctioned facilities designed to reduce the health and public order issues often associated with public injection.

These facilities provide a space for people to consume pre-obtained drugs in controlled settings under the supervision of trained staff and with access to sterile injecting equipment. Participants can also receive health care, counseling, and referrals to health and social services, including drug treatment.

Why SIFs?

SIFs are intended to complement – not replace – existing prevention, harm reduction and treatment interventions as part of a comprehensive public health approach to overdose and other negative consequences of problematic drug use.

Over 100 such programs are already operating successfully around the world while advocacy continues to establish these essential public health services in the United States. Statewide efforts are currently gaining momentum in New York and California in addition to local plans evolving in cities like Seattle, San Francisco, Ithaca and Baltimore.

As shown in recent cost-benefit analyses on prospective SIFs in San Francisco and Baltimore, SIFs are extremely cost effective and can generate millions of dollars in annual savings. Evidence shows they improve access to drug treatment and other needed services while reducing the risk of disease transmission and skin and soft tissue infections, preventing overdose deaths, and providing alternatives to public injecting and improper syringe disposal. That is why a growing body of public health experts and medical professionals, including the American Medical Association, support the establishment of SIFs in the United States.

Learn more about how SIFs help reduce the harms associated with drug use in this video from Luceo.

Colorado Urgently Needs SIFs

Colorado has made strides in improving harm reduction services like sterile syringe access and naloxone availability, but our communities still experience far too many needless overdose deaths with rates higher than the national average. Public injecting in spaces such as parks and business restrooms is also an ongoing concern.

It is time for Colorado to take the next step in public health-based drug policy by establishing SIFs.

Get Involved

Along with our friends at the Harm Reduction Action Center, Drug Policy Alliance believes that SIFs are urgently needed in Colorado. We need your help to make this happen!

Join the Colorado SIF Campaign to express your commitment to making this vital public health service available in Colorado. We’ll provide updates and calls to action that will keep you engaged in this advocacy.

If you are a business owner, also join the business coalition to pledge your support for an evidence-based intervention that will prevent disease and needless deaths by providing a safe alternative to public spaces for people who inject drugs.

Join the Colorado SIF Campaign now.

Additional Resources

Supervised Injection Facilities