Monitored drug use saves lives
A recent commentary (“Monitored drug use sites save lives,” Oct. 26) thoroughly presents the case for “safer drug consumption” sites as an evidence-based response to drug use. The Baltimore Harm Reduction Coalition, which has provided overdose education and naloxone since 2014, joins the authors in calling for the implementation of SDC sites in Maryland.
BHRC applauds the efforts of Baltimore and the state of Maryland to aggressively expand harm reduction programs such as access to naloxone, syringe exchange and Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion. Despite these efforts, overdose deaths have increased dramatically between 2015 and 2016, and further action is required.
Safer drug consumption sites work. There have been no reported fatal overdoses at any of the existing sites across the world. Additionally, as the authors point out, these facilities can more comprehensively address the needs of people with substance use disorders including through the provision of medical care, housing and case management. Such spaces increase entry to substance use treatment and improve the health and safety of individuals and communities. Substantial evidence from years of research supports these claims; SDC sites are simply rational and effective public policy.
Our coalition welcomes increased public awareness of the need to prevent overdose deaths and treat drug use as a public health issue. Innovative strategies such as safer drug consumption sites must be seriously considered as a part of this approach.