The American Public Health Association (APHA) conference in San Francisco next week showcases a controversial public health intervention for people who inject drugs. Supervised injection facilities (SIFs) are an effective public health intervention where people can inject drugs using sterile equipment and with medical supervision, but none currently operate in the United States because of political and legal barriers. A model SIF will be on display in the APHA Exhibit Hall and will be available for media tours.
At the 140th Annual Meeting of APHA at the Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco, the PHS Community Services Society, the non-profit organization that operates Insite, in Vancouver, Canada, the only legal SIF in North America, will demonstrate how and why supervised injection works. A mock safe injection facility located at booth #2202 in the Exhibitors Hall will demystify safer injection by offering tours and hosting numerous local drug policy reform advocates for informal discussion on topics such as syringe access and overdose response.
Located in Vancouver, Canada, Insite is a 1000-square-foot sanctuary for people who inject drugs where it is legal to inject heroin and other illegal drugs. Started in 2003 as a response to an epidemic of overdose deaths, it has since been proven in over 50 independent studies to reduce the spread of HIV, reduce public disorder, save money, and save lives. Insite is the most used program of its kind in the world and is among the most successful public health interventions targeting injection drug users and curbing HIV transmission rates. Despite legal challenges and overwhelming scientific evidence supervised injection and syringe access continue to be controversial issues.
On Saturday October 27, the Drug Policy Alliance and supporters of Insite will be gathering at the Marriott Marquis to send the message that evidence should trump ideology and the world’s policy makers have a lot to learn from Insite.
What: Launch of the Insite mock safe injection facility
Where: Marriott Marquis Room: Pacific F
When: Saturday, October 27, at 6 p.m.
PHS Executive Director Liz Evans will be available for comment
The PHS Community Services Society is a housing and health services non-profit operating supportive housing, emergency shelters, medical and dental care, nutrition, and basic banking services. Detox and harm reduction services include a managed alcohol program, a needle exchange, alcohol and drug treatment programs, and North America's first and only safe injection facility, Insite.