The opioid epidemic in the United States has reached critical mass, and some cities are considering taking matters into their own hands with programs such as safe injection sites. However, the U.S. Justice Department has signaled its intent to take legal action against safe injection sites.
Meanwhile, U.S. Surgeon General Jerome M. Adams remains skeptical of the efficacy of safe injection sites as a weapon in the fight against opioid abuse.
What Are Safe Injection Sites?
A safe injection site is a harm reduction program. It is a controlled environment, also known as a supervised injection service or supervised drug consumption facility (SCF), where people can consume drugs in a sterile and safe environment. Trained staff are on hand to give visitors sterile needles and aid in the event of an overdose.
Since individuals who use needles to inject drugs face an increased risk of certain diseases such as HIV and hepatitis C, these sites aim to reduce this exposure.
Also, the people who staff these facilities can encourage visitors to get the opioid addiction treatment help that they need or want. A review from the 2014 Drug and Alcohol Dependence and another review from the 2017 edition of Current HIV/AIDS Reports concluded that safe injection sites were successful in promoting drug treatment.
Safe injection sites have been used for years in countries like Canada and Germany to reduce risky behavior, lower rates of drug-related deaths and contribute to higher instances of addiction treatment.
Several U.S. cities now have them, including Miami and San Francisco. Philadelphia, a city with one of this country’s highest opioid-related death rates, is the latest city to introduce safe injection sites.
Surgeon General Not on Board With These Programs
Safe injections sites have long been controversial, and Adams remains pessimistic about the effectiveness of these programs. When Philadelphia decided to expand its needle exchange programs to safe injection sites, Adams urged city officials to look at other programs instead.
Adams believes that the city’s resources would be better spent on other evidence-based programs such as medication-assisted treatment, more syringe service programs and access to naloxone for overdoses.
Safe injection sites may encourage drug users to get addiction treatment.
Where to Turn for Opioid Addiction Treatment
If you are struggling with opioid addiction, you can find help and hope at The Recovery Village.
Facility representatives understand what it takes to treat opioid addiction. The treatment center is run by addiction professionals who take a compassionate view of each client’s situation and want to help them find a way to start their recovery journey.
Contact The Recovery Village today to get answers to your questions and learn more about your options for addiction treatment.