A new meta-analysis reviewed the evidence on safe injection sites. There’s bad news.
In response to the opioid epidemic, several cities, from New York City to Seattle, are considering a controversial policy: allowing spaces where people can, under supervision, inject heroin and use other drugs. The idea is that if people are going to use drugs anyway, there might as well be places where those drug users can be supervised in case something goes wrong.
“After a rigorous review of similar efforts across the world, and after careful consideration of public health and safety expert views, we believe overdose prevention centers will save lives and get more New Yorkers into the treatment they need to beat this deadly addiction,” New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a statement earlier this year.
But a new study has found that these places, known as supervised drug consumption sites, safe injection sites, and many other names, may not be as effective at preventing overdose deaths and other drug-related problems as once thought. According to a new review of the research published in the International Journal of Drug Policy, safe consumption sites appear to have only a small favorable relation to drug-related crimes but no significant effect on several other outcomes, including overdose mortality and syringe sharing.