Yesterday the Abell Foundation released a report written by Johns Hopkins University researcher Susan Sherman called, “Safe Consumption Spaces: A Strategy for Baltimore City,” which explains what safe consumption spaces (SCSs) are – facilities where drugs can be consumed under medical supervision so as to reduce harm and improve outcomes for users – and discusses the research behind them and the challenges they face. The report also calls for creating two SCSs (also referred to as “safe injection facilities,” or SIFs) in Baltimore City, one on the east side and one on the west.
As the Sun story on the report details, OSI-Baltimore has been partnering with Hopkins on the issue. And this spring, OSI-Baltimore will partner with the New Day Campaign for an evening to discuss safe injection facilities. Check our Events page for updates.
According to the report, there are about 19,000 people in Baltimore City who are currently using injectable drugs, and nearly 300 people died in the first half of 2016 from overdoses. Half of those deaths involved fentanyl, a cheap but powerful synthetic opioid similar to morphine, but 50-100 times more potent.
The report details the considerable public health benefits and cost-effectiveness of these sites, including significant reductions in HIV transmission as well as a reduction in overdose deaths.
Read “Baltimore’s Response to the Overdose Epidemic” to learn how OSI-Baltimore has worked with the Baltimore City Health Department to develop a comprehensive overdose and addiction strategy based on three pillars: Preventing deaths from overdose by expanding access to naloxone, the overdose reversal drug, to all city residents; increasing access to quality and effective on-demand treatment services and long-term recovery support; and providing education to reduce stigma and prevent addiction.