Mayor Bill de Blasio has just announced that he is moving forward with safer consumption spaces as a strategy to combat the overdose crisis. The move follows years of advocacy by community-based groups, people who are directly affected, faith leaders, medical professionals, treatment providers, housing service providers, and City Council members who have called for New York City to implement safer consumption spaces as a proven public health intervention to save lives.
Here is a statement Kassandra Frederique, New York state director at the Drug Policy Alliance
“Mayor de Blasio’s embrace of safer consumption spaces is a critical step forward in preventing overdose deaths in New York City. We know that safer consumption spaces are an evidence-based solution that can help dramatically in saving lives, reducing criminalization, and improving public health,” said Kassandra Frederique, New York state director at the Drug Policy Alliance. “New York can and must be a leader now in saving lives by opening safer consumption spaces swiftly.”
Every seven hours, someone dies of a drug overdose in New York City.
Nearly 100 safer consumption spaces exist around the world. They have been rigorously evaluated and shown to steeply reduce overdose deaths, HIV and viral hepatitis infections, and public disorder, and to increase access to drug treatment and other healthcare. Millions of injections having taken place at some of them, yet not one overdose death has been documented in these facilities.
Momentum for safer consumption spaces is building across the country, with officials in Philadelphia announcing their plan to create Comprehensive User Engagement Sites (CUES), effectively safer consumption spaces, at a press conference on January 23, 2018. Last year, San Francisco’s city health officials said they could potentially open safe injection sites within 8-12 months. Kings County in Washington State has been approved to open an SCS. Maryland, Vermont, California, Maine and Massachusetts have all introduced legislation to approve the sites. Beyond academic research, a growing body of editorial boards and opinion pieces have highlighted the need: New York Times, Washington Post, USA Today, US News, Huffington Post, Baltimore Sun, Seattle Times, Bloomberg News, LA Times, The Nation, and the Boston Globe.
The American Medical Association (AMA) voted to support the development of pilot safer consumption spaces. The New York Academy of Medicine and Massachusetts Medical Society also both publicly support safer consumption spaces, and the Journal of the American Medical Association published a review of research supporting safer consumption spaces. In April 2017, more than 100 New York City healthcare professionals signed an open letter in support of safer consumption spaces, urging elected representatives to adopt them as a public health intervention to prevent overdose deaths.
See End Overdose NY for more about safer consumption spaces: http://endoverdoseny.com/safer-consumption-spaces.
For more background on the campaign for supervised injection facilities, visit www.SIFNYC.org.