Overdoses drop with injecting room

NORTH America’s first supervised injecting facility (SIF), in Vancouver, Canada, has helped reduce the number of fatal overdoses in the community by more than a third, researchers say.

Analysis of 290 drug overdose deaths in the city from 2001 to 2005 found 31% occurred within 500 m of where the facility is now located. 

The fatal overdose rate decreased by 35% after the facility opened in 2003, compared to a decrease of only 9% in the rest of the city.

“Our results suggest that SIFs are an effective intervention to reduce community overdose mortality… and should be considered for assessment particularly in communities with high levels of injection drug use,” said Dr Thomas Kerr from St Paul’s Hospital, Vancouver.

Lancet 2011; 377:1429-37