Philadelphia Encourages Development of Sites for Supervised Injection Drug Use

Philadelphia officials are encouraging organizations to open facilities where staff members provide clean needles and guard against overdoses.

Advocates for these facilities say they would save lives. Opponents say they sanction an illegal activity, and make it easier for people to use drugs, The Wall Street Journal reports.

The Philadelphia facilities would offer a wide range of services, including referrals to treatment and social services, wound care, medically supervised drug consumption, and access to sterile injection equipment and the opioid overdose antidote naloxone, according to a news release.

City officials said a scientific review of studies of supervised injection facilities showed they reduce deaths from drug overdose; prevent HIV, hepatitis C and other infections; and help people who use drugs get into treatment. The review estimated that one site in Philadelphia could prevent up to 76 deaths from drug overdose each year.

Risks for Relapse, Overdose and What You Can Do

Addiction is complex and the journey to recovery often involves setbacks and relapse. Rates of relapse are between 40 and 60 percent, very similar to rates of relapse with other chronic diseases like hypertension, asthma or type I diabetes.1 Once your son or daughter has been drug-free for a period of time — whether the result of formal treatment or otherwise — should they relapse, they’re more susceptible to overdose for the simple reason that their tolerance isn’t what it once was. A dose they may have once used regularly can now be fatal.

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