Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby signed onto a legal brief supporting the establishment of safe injection facilities (SIFs), which provide medical supervision for those using heroin and other drugs and have been proven to reduce overdoses around the world.
“This is a great development,” says Michael Camlin, a program specialist in OSI-Baltimore’s Addiction and Health Equity and Criminal and Juvenile Justice programs. “At a time when overdose is the leading cause of death for Americans under 50, when the overdose death rate in Baltimore is more than twice as high as the homicide rate, we should be looking to solutions like overdose prevention sites to help save lives.”
OSI-Baltimore and its grantees, including Baltimore Harm Reduction Coalition, have been urging city leaders to explore the possibility of opening SIFs, also called safe consumption spaces, for several years.
“In the 40-plus year history of the 120 safe consumption sites around the world, over the course of tens of millions of injections, not a single person has ever died from an overdose at any SIF,” adds Camlin. “Many of these sites, such as Vancouver’s Insite, have been rigorously researched, and the data has shown that such facilities do not promote drug use or lead to increased rates of drug use or crime in their surrounding communities. Rather, they play a critical role in engaging those who have been most disconnected from traditional health care settings, helping to connect them with needed services to meet their various social determinants of health needs, including medical care, food access, housing, and legal support, and often engage them in treatment for their addictions.”