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California Will Be First in the Nation to Open Supervised Injection Sites


Earlier this month, San Francisco’s local Health Commission voted unanimously in support of opening safe injection sites in the city, which will make San Francisco the first city in the country to embrace this harm reduction model (Kim, 2018; Rasmus & Fernandez, 2018).

According to a proponent of the safe injection centers, “There are an estimated 22,000 IV drug users in San Francisco, and 100 injected drug overdose deaths a year in the city” (Rasmus & Fernandez, 2018). The safe injection sites would have “proper hygiene supplies, a trained staff, needle disposal boxes, and access to drug counseling,” which means fewer used needles left in the streets as well as money saved by the city (Rasmus & Fernandez, 2018).

“We are working with several nonprofits and community organizations that already serve this population to expand services to include supervised injections,” said San Francisco Department of Public Health Spokeswoman Rachel Kagan (Rasmus & Fernandez, 2018). Kagan also stated that these new sites will be privately funded initially, as getting federal support will be difficult.

While cities like Seattle, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Boston, Denver, Ithaca, and New York City have shown interest in starting safe injection sites in their cities, they have not made any progress yet. There are over 120 safe injection facilities operating around the world—in Canada, France, Switzerland, and Australia, among others—but none in the United States until these sites in California, which are due to open this summer (Kim, 2018).

Kim, V. (2018). San Francisco set to open nation’s first supervised injection sites this summer. Retrieved from https://www.thefix.com/san-francisco-set-open-nations-first-supervised-injection-sites-summer
Rasmus, A., & Fernandez, L. (2018). Safe drug injection sites in San Francisco expected to open in July, be first in nation. Retrieved from http://www.ktvu.com/news/safe-drug-injection-sites-in-san-francisco-expected-to-open-in-july-be-first-in-nation-reports