SAFE CONSUMPTION SPACES SAVE LIVES!
Safe Consumption Spaces (SCSs), also known as safe injection facilities, safe injection sites, or drug consumption rooms, have been saving lives around the world for over 30 years. There are now over 100 sites worldwide. There have been millions of injections at these sites and ZERO overdose deaths.
WHAT IS AN SCS?
SCSs are safe, clean spaces where people can legally use previously obtained drugs under the supervision of healthcare professionals who provide support, safe and sterile equipment, and overdose prevention.
SCSs provide an array of support including health care, counseling, and referrals to health and social services, including drug treatment.
... IT's ONE PIECE OF THE PUZZLE
SCSs and harm reduction strategies are part of a comprehensive four-pillar approach to drug use, practiced by numerous cities worldwide. (Read more about it here.)
SCSs do not provide drugs, allow the sale of drugs, or condone drug use in any way. They are simply a tool that allows people who use drugs to stay alive so that they may have the opportunity for recovery.
HOW IT WORKS:
SCSs come in all shapes and sizes. This diagram is based on InSite in Vancouver, BC.
This is the entry point of the SCS where participants are welcomed. Here they provide their name or anonymous handle and are then placed on a waiting list for the injection room by the receptionist. They can also make appointments to see the nurse or counselor.
2. Waiting Area
Participants then proceed to the waiting area. When a booth opens up in the injection room a staff member will then call in the next participant on the list.
3. Injection Room
Once in the injection room, participants let the staff member know what drug they are using, and are then told which booth is available. There is a sink to wash their hands so they can avoid infections and a nursing station that provides them with clean sterile equipment.
While injecting in their booth, participants are monitored by the staff and nurses so they may intervene in the event of an overdose or provide safer injection education.
Here participants can receive care, treatment and support for health issues and concerns, as well as education on how to reduce the harm from injection drug use.
5. Counseling and Support Offices
Here participants may meet with counselors, seek detox and treatment options, or other referrals to services, such as housing and mental health services.
6. Chill Lounge
Here participants can stay as long as they need until they feel safe enough to go outside. At InSite, this area is staffed by peers who are active and former drug users. They provide participants with coffee and juice as well as helpful information about community services, shelters and meal providers in the community.
7. Detox and supportive housing (not pictured)
InSite also provides detox (2nd floor) and supportive housing for those seeking treatment (3rd floor). This allows participants to avoid long waiting lists and get more immediate access to treatment when they are ready. In the spirit of integrated care, King County currently has plans to make buprenorphine available in proposed SCSs.