Supervised Injection Facilities

Supervised injection rooms are legally sanctioned facilities where people who use intravenous drugs can inject pre-obtained drugs under medical supervision. Supervised injection facilities are designed to reduce the health and societal problems associated with injection drug use.

Benefits

Supervised injection facilities provide sterile injection equipment, information about reducing the harms of drugs, health care, treatment referrals, and access to medical staff. Some offer counseling, hygienic amenities, and other services.

They are also successful in reducing public disorder associated with illicit drug use, including improper syringe disposal and public drug use.

SIFs have been researched and evaluated for years. The evidence is conclusive that they reduce HIV and hepatitis transmission risks, prevent overdose deaths, reduce public injections, reduce discarded syringes, and increase the number of people who enter drug treatment.

Locations

There are now actually approximately 100 SIFs operating in at least 66 cities around the world in nine countries (Switzerland, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Luxembourg, Spain, Denmark, Australia and Canada). The first North American supervised injection site, Insite, opened in Vancouver, Canada in 2003.

No such facilities currently exist in the United States, but the Drug Policy Alliance is advocating for supervised injection pilot programs in San Francisco and New York City. We are working to expand the national dialogue on drug control to include policies and programs that mitigate the harms of drug use without mandating abstinence.

While gaining acceptance for a U.S. facility will be an uphill battle, we are committed to challenging the stigma surrounding injection drug use and introducing political leaders and the public to the health and societal benefits that supervised injection sites bring to local communities.

Harm Reduction and Human Rights: Strategies on Expanding Harm Reduction Through Human Rights

May 20, 2015

Watch the recording now!

Harm reduction services and syringe exchange are more than just a prevention strategy. Access to these vital services enables HIV testing, linkage to care and other critical health/social services, as well as affirming the human rights and dignity of people who use drugs.

White House Opiate Overdose Program Announced Today is One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

Advocates: Public Health Goals Are Positive, But Overreliance on Law Enforcement Destined to Fail

Obama Administration Urged to Take More Meaningful Steps to Treat Drug Use as a Health Issue

Washington, D.C. – The Obama Administration announced a new program today to fund “public health-public safety partnerships” to address the heroin and prescription opioid crisis.  The new program would hire 15 drug intelligence officers and 15 health policy analysts to work within High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) programs.  The drug intelligence officers are expected to gather information on trafficking patterns and trends for street-level law enforcement.

Contact:

Tony Newman 646-335-5384
Bill Piper 202-683-2985

Prestigious Study Found Heroin-Assisted Treatment Produces Benefits to Individuals and Society

Study Focused on Six Countries and Found Reductions in Illegal Drug Use, Crime and Health Care Costs Without Harming Public Safety

Nevada State Senate Considered Legislation for Heroin-Assisted Treatment Trial Project

A seminal review recently published in the prestigious British Journal of Psychiatry confirms that heroin-assisted treatment, also known as supervised injectable heroin treatment or heroin-maintenance, is an effective treatment for patients who have not responded to standard treatment options such as methadone or residential rehabilitation. Heroin-assisted treatment refers to the supervised administration of pharmaceutical-grade heroin to a small group of particularly difficult-to-treat chronic heroin users.

Contact:

Lindsay LaSalle 510-847-8064
Tony Newman 646-335-5384

Colorado Opioid Symposium: Reducing the Impacts of Opioids in Colorado

Members of the Affected Community, International Experts, Treatment Providers, State Leaders and Physicians Gather to Discuss Opioid Use, Harm Reduction Strategies, Overdose Prevention, Supervised Injection Facilities, Heroin Assisted Treatment and Best Practices From Around the World

Daylong Symposium to be Held at Denver’s History Colorado Center, Thursday, March 5, 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Denver, CO – The Drug Policy Alliance, Harm Reduction Action Center and the Center for Public Health Practice will convene stakeholders to deliberate on the current impact of opioids and more effective responses to opioid use and dependency in Colorado.  The Opioid Symposium is a daylong event on Thursday, March 5th at the History Colorado Center in Denver.

Contact:

Art Way, 720-288-6924

Taking Control: Pathways to Drug Policies That Work

September 8, 2014
Global Commission on Drug Policy

This report reflects a new evolution in the thinking of the Global Commission, which includes Kofi Annan, Richard Branson, and the former presidents of Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Poland, Portugal and Switzerland. They not only reiterate their demands for decriminalization, alternatives to incarceration, and greater emphasis on public health approaches – but now also call for responsible legal regulation of currently-illegal drugs.

Stigma and People Who Use Drugs

March 3, 2014

There is an extensive body of literature documenting the stigma associated with alcohol and other drug problems. No physical or psychiatric condition is more associated with social disapproval and discrimination than substance dependence. For people who use drugs, or are recovering from problematic drug use, stigma can be a barrier to a wide range of opportunities and rights.

Healthcare Not Handcuffs: Putting the Affordable Care Act to Work for Criminal Justice and Drug Policy Reform

December 12, 2013
Drug Policy Alliance, American Civil Liberties Union

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) represents a remarkable opportunity for criminal justice and drug policy reform advocates to advance efforts to enact policy changes that promote safe and healthy communities, without excessively relying on criminal justice solutions that have become so prevalent under the war on drugs, and which fall so disproportionately on low-income communities and communities of color.

Demonstration Safe Injection Facility Launched at the 140th APHA Annual Meeting on Saturday, Oct. 27 in San Francisco

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.

Contact: Laura Thomas – 415-283-6366 or Clare Hacksel – 604-618-4074

Supervised Injection Facilities (English/Spanish)

February 10, 2016

Supervised injection facilities (SIFs) are controlled health care settings where people can more safely inject drugs under clinical supervision and receive health care, counseling and referrals to health and social services, including drug treatment. There is overwhelming evidence that SIFs are effective in reducing new HIV infections, overdose deaths and public nuisance – and that they do not increase drug use or criminal activity. There are currently about 100 such facilities operating in more than 65 cities around the world in nine countries – but none in the U.S.

The Cost of a Slow Learning Curve

February 19, 2014

The U.S. refuses to adopt an evidence-based HIV/AIDS prevention strategy, costing us hundreds of thousands of lives and hundreds of millions of dollars. However, in countries where addiction is treated as a health issue, the fight against HIV/AIDS is being won. Newly diagnosed HIV infections in many countries have been nearly eliminated among people who use drugs, just as mother-to-child transmission of HIV has been eliminated in countries that make medicines for pregnant women accessible.

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