*******Safer drug consumption services (SCS) are health care settings where people can use pre-obtained drugs in a hygienic environment with access to sterile drug use equipment and under the supervision of trained healthcare staff. SCS provide healthcare, counseling, and linkage to other services, including drug treatment. They promote dignity and connection for people too often denied both.
Safer drug consumption services (SCS), also called supervised injection facilities (specific to injection only) or drug consumption rooms, are not a new idea. There are over 100 sites operating in 67 cities in ten countries around the world. Since the first SCS opened in 1986, the evidence and support for these programs has continued to increase over the years. Scores of high-quality, peer-reviewed scientific studies have consistently proven the positive effects of SCS on public health and safety.
Public health research has shown that SCS: - Reduce overdose deaths by providing immediate first aid. No one has ever died while using drugs in an SCS. - Increase access to drug treatment, especially among people who distrust the treatment system and are unlikely seek treatment on their own. - Increase public order and safety by reducing drug use in public spaces such as parks and public restrooms - Reduce improperly discarded drug use equipment in public spaces- Reduce HIV and viral hepatitis transmission by reducing the reuse of drug use equipment by people who use at an SCS. - Reduce skin and soft tissue infections, a common, debilitating, and expensive-to-treat consequence of injection drug use in unsanitary environments.- Save money by preventing disease and unnecessary hospitalization. A recent San Francisco cost-effectiveness study predicted that one 13-booth SCS site would result in a net annual savings of $3.5 million for the city. In Baltimore, implementation of a single SCS could render a potential $7.8 million savings.
In addition, research has shown that SCS:• Do NOT increase drug use in the surrounding community.• Do NOT increase initiation into injection drug use.• Do NOT increase drug-related crime.
There are over 100 SCS operating (Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, and Switzerland) and plans to expand in at least on more country (Ireland) by the end of 2017 – but none in the United States. Seattle - King County, Washington governments have stated an intention to authorize SCS. State-level legislation has been introduced in California (AB 186), Maryland, Massachusetts, and Vermont; and the city legislatures of San Francisco and New York City have taken steps to explore the viability of local SCS authorization.
While many counties in California support syringe exchange programs, many of the participants served are unable to practice safe injection techniques and safe disposal of syringes because they do not have a safe place to go. SCS would offer both a safe place to go to prevent disease transmission and overdose, but also promote connection to other services including drug treatment.
We, the undersigned individuals, believe that this evidence-based intervention would complement the existing efforts to improve the health and wellbeing of people who use drugs in California.