SAFE CONSUMPTION SPACES SAVE LIVES!

Safe Consumption Spaces (SCS) also known as safe injection facilities (SIFS), safe injection sites, and 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.

 

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.

Safe consumption spaces provide an array of support including health care, counseling, and referrals to health and social services, including drug treatment.

 

HOW IT WORKS:

SCSs come in all shapes and sizes. This diagram is based on InSite in Vancouver, BC.

scs-web-insitediagram.png

1. Reception

This is the entry point of the SCSs 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 (IR)

Once in the injection room, participants let the staff member know what drug they are using and 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.

4. Clinic

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 and provide participants with coffee and  juice and helpful information about community services, shelters, and meal providers in the community.

InSite also provides detox on the 2nd floor and supportive housing for those seeking treatment on the 3rd floor. This allows participants to avoid long waiting lists and get more immediate access to treatment when they are ready. 

King County has plans to make buprenorphine available in proposed SCSs.


SIFs do not increase community drug use or increase initiation into injection drug use. Moreover, providing a sterile, safe place to inject increases the chances that counselors will help individuals into treatment or support services.”
— Norm Stamper | Former Seattle Police Chief

 

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 about it here.

Safe consumption spaces 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.


These sites will provide individuals with opioid use disorder a portal to return to healthy lives by reducing overdoses, preventing infections such as hepatitis B and C and HIV and other drug-related medical problems by increasing access to drug treatment services and providing a safe and non-threatening environment where persons can receive help for other medical and behavioral health problems and their social service needs. These sites have been shown elsewhere in the world to reduce health problems, to reduce public drug use and the discarding of drug using equipment, while not increasing drug use, crime, or negative impacts on the community.”
— Jeff Duchin | King County Health Officer