Supervised Injection Sites for Drug Users
Dessa Bergen-Cico, associate professor of public health at Falk College, has researched supervised injection sites for drug users and has offered a response to plan by the mayor of Ithaca to open such a facility:
The United States is experiencing an opiate epidemic and the death rates from overdose among youth/young adults now exceeds numbers of those killed in car accidents.
Facilities like the one being proposed in Ithaca are always part of a comprehensive public health and safety based approach to address the problem of addiction.
Repression and punishment-oriented approaches to dealing with addiction have not worked to stop drug use; they have resulted in significant social and economic costs.
First and foremost the safe injection facilities provide a means of connection with vulnerable people who are using drugs. Connection with trained staff at these facilities is important for keeping individuals grounded with human contact, getting them access to health services and when they are ready – access to treatment and recovery.
Safe injection facilities are designed to achieve several key health and safety objectives:
These facilities provide connection with trained staff who can help individual’s reduce risks of disease, overdose and abuse in the streets. Overdose deaths decrease significantly where these facilities are available.
Connection with staff at these facilities is a conduit to reduced crime, public nuisance, and spread of disease to the general public.
The presence of these facilities reduces discarded used needles in parks, on the streets, etc.