Expand Number of Safe Injection Sites

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Introductory Paragraph

In the United States there is still much debate on the use of safe injection sites and whether states and the federal government should allow these sites to exist. A safe injection site is specific locations where people can safely inject an illicit drug under a medical professional's supervision. Everyday there are more than 100 people who overdose. The hope of these sites is to provide a safe and clean environment to decrease the number of overdoses. These sites can also help to stop the spread of life-threatening infections, such as HIV or Hepatitis C. The use of these sites is relatively new to the United States however they have been in use in Europe, Australia, and Canada for decades.[1]

Key Information

A key part for communities to be able to expand safe injection sites in the United States is to continue to remove the stigma of addiction. Many individuals still believe that those with substance abuse disorders can just stop. We do not expect people with autoimmune disorders or other diseases to stop or figure it out on their own and we should provide the same care and understanding to those with substance abuse disorders. Educating individuals on substance abuse disorders and how this disease can affect people is an important part of being able to get more legislation to open sites nationwide.[2]

Why These Sites are Important

Safe injection sites are important not only because they can lower the rate of overdoses in a community by having trained individuals at the site to assist and monitor those with substance abuse disorder while they inject. Safe injection sites also provide clean needles and other supplies to reduce risks. These sites are also important because they can provide a safe and sterile environment for substance abuse users to learn about proper injection and hygienic methods, which may lower infections that can easily be transmitted among those with this disorder. These sites can also be the first place that someone with substance abuse disorder may decide that they want help and having individuals working at these sites who are trained in knowing the resources available can help a person get the help they need.[3]

More Than Just a Place to Inject

Safe injection sites can be more than just a place for individuals to inject illicit drugs safely. These sites can provide classes, resources, therapy options, and programs. Some of the classes offered can simply be on proper hygiene use to proper product preparation. Having these classes and programs available can also help to reduce overdose and the spread of infectious diseases among those that are using. Other resources that these sites can provide are therapy options and resources on where to go to help get control of the disorder.[4]

Ways to Get Involved

Individuals who want to get involved and have a say on these programs can:

  • Contact their local, state and federal legislature
  • Watch for and vote on legislation that will allow or not allow these sites to operate
  • Educate individuals on substance abuse disorder to remove stigmas
  • Once sites are opened, individuals can help to support the site and get word out that these programs are available in the community

Relevant Research

In January of 2022 a study done in the United States with an unauthorized Safe consumption site was published that showed that Safe injection/ consumption sites reduced the likelihood of overdosing. [5]

Impactful Federal, State, and Local Policies


In January of 2021 the Third circuit appellate court in the United States Department of Justice ruled that safe injection sites were illegal under federal law.[6] This overturned a decision by the district court on the matter.[7] However, in February of 2022 the Department of Justice released a statement stating that they are evaluating such facilities. [8]


In November of 2021 New York began operating two safe injection sites in Manhattan. New York currently has a proposal for the Safer Consumption Services Act. If this act passed into law it would allow New York to open more sites statewide. [9]

SAFE Solutions is an ever-growing platform. We will continue to regularly monitor and make updates accordingly. Please check back soon.

Available Tools and Resources

Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse Supervised Injection Facilities FAQs.[10]

Harm Reduction: A British Columbia Community Guide[11]

Promising Practices

A longitudinal study done in France on the practice of community-based safe injection sites had promising results. This study focused on providing education on safely injecting and safe hygiene practices at the sites. Using proper methods can help to reduce the risk of overdose and the risk of spreading infectious diseases.[12]

Safe Injection Facilities Proposal for a Vancouver Pilot Project[13] Evidence from Europe indicates that safe injection facilities provide a cost-effective means of engaging the most marginalized and at-risk drug users and of addressing the following objectives:

  • Improving the overall health of drug users, including reducing the incidence of overdose and disease transmission;
  • Reducing public nuisance associated with drug use, such as crime, discarded needles, and public drug use;
  • Increasing appropriate use of health and social services by drug users;
  • Reducing health, social, legal, and incarceration costs associated with drug use.

Transform Drug Policy Foundation What is an Overdose Prevention Centre There are currently approaching 200 OPCs in operation across the world in fourteen countries including Canada, Germany, Switzerland, France, Portugal, Ukraine, Norway, the Netherlands, Australia, Belgium, Spain, Denmark, Iceland and the US.[14]