Role of Overdose Prevention Sites in Coronavirus Response   [open pdf - 0B]

From the Executive Summary: "The coronavirus pandemic has compounded North America's overdose crisis. [...] In responding to these overlapping public health emergencies, we must draw on the full spectrum of science-driven prevention measures. Such measures include rapid scale-up in access to critical overdose prevention medications, including methadone, buprenorphine, and the opioid antidote naloxone. But we must also expand the limited toolkit of overdose prevention efforts in the United States to include overdose prevention sites. Also known as 'supervised consumption facilities' or 'safe injection sites,' these are safe, supervised spaces to use previously-obtained drugs and access essential care and support services. With nearly 300 such facilities operating worldwide, overdose prevention sites have shown overwhelming evidence of their public health benefit and cost-effectiveness. Despite these well-documented successes, advocates have been unsuccessful at opening a legally-sanctioned overdose prevention site in the United States. In the context of the COVID-19 [coronavirus disease 2019] pandemic, such sites are especially vital because of their potential to prevent both overdose fatalities and the spread of infectious diseases. By handling numerous medical emergencies, they also promise to conserve health care system resources during a time when these resources are acutely scarce. As coronavirus is fundamentally redefining the status quo, the imperative for overdose prevention sites has never been more urgent. The American public agrees: In new polling, we found substantial bipartisan support for overdose prevention sites and other harm reduction solutions as part of the response to coronavirus."

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