Supervised Injection Facilities
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.
Supervised injection facilities are operating in 27 cities around the world, including in Sydney, Australia; and Oslo, Norway. The first North American supervised injection site, Insite, opened in Vancouver, Canada in 2003. SIFs have been researched and evaluated for years. Insite alone has generated dozens of articles in peer-reviewed journals. 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.
The Drug Policy Alliance has made establishing a supervised injection facility in the United States a priority, and we are looking at San Francisco as the possible site of the nation’s first supervised injection pilot program. 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.