Saturday, April 30, 2011

Supervised Injection Facilities – A Good Idea, or Not?

A recent study published in The Lancet shows that supervised injection facilities, where drug users have access to medical expertise and injection rooms for their injections, can significantly reduce the death rate from drug overdoses. In Vancouver, Canada, for example, deaths from drug overdoses have fallen by 35% in the area immediately around a supervised injection facility that opened in 2003. In contrast, the death rate declined by only 9% in the rest of the city over the same time period.

So, providing supervised facilities for drug users lowers the death rate from overdoses. But does that make it a good idea? Is it the best way to spend tax dollars on drug-related problems in society, compared to spending those same dollars on education, treatment centers, or punishment? YOU decide. It’ll be your taxes at work.

Reference: Marshall, BDL, et al. Reduction in Overdose Mortality After the Opening of North America's First Medically Supervised Safer Injecting Facility: A Retrospective Population-Based Study. The Lancet 377: 1429-1437, 2011.

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