The case for safer injection facilities

September 27, 2004

The Authors of a new study in CMAJ report fewer publicly-discarded syringes and less public injection drug use in one Vancouver area one-year after the city opened North America 's first medically supervised safer injecting facility for illicit injection drug users (IDUs).

Wood and colleagues measured the impact of the clinic's opening by measuring injection-related public order problems during the 6 weeks before and the 12 weeks after the opening of the safer-injection facility in Vancouver . The authors used public order problems such as the number of drug users injecting in public, publicly discarded syringes and injection-related litter as indicators of the relative success or failure of the safer injection facility.

The authors state their findings of significant reductions in public injection drug use, publicly discarded syringes and injection-related litter after the opening of the facility are not surprising given that feasibility studies showed IDUs who inject in public would be the most likely to use safer injecting facilities. Some five hundred IDUs began using the facility daily after it opened.

Even though there are similar safe injection facilities in Sydney , Australia and several European cities have safer injection facilities, this marks the first published standardized evaluation of their success.
-end-
p. 731 Changes in public order after the opening of a medically supervised safer injecting facility for illicit injection drug users
-- E. Wood et al

Canadian Medical Association Journal

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