79 People Die Every Day Due to Opioid-Related Overdose. Supervised Injection Facilities Can Help
The AIDS United Public Policy Committee, the largest and longest-running national coalition of community-based HIV/AIDS organizations, calls for the local implementation of supervised injection facilities as part of a comprehensive public health approach to reduce overdose deaths, prevent the transmission of HIV and hepatitis C and improve quality of life among people who inject drugs (See full statement here).
In 2014, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that opioids caused over 28,000 overdose deaths, 3,000-5,000 new cases of HIV and approximately 10,000 new cases of hepatitis C. Supervised injection facilities are proven to reduce these rates without increasing drug use. They do this by providing a safe, sterile and medically controlled environment for people to inject drugs under the supervision of medical professionals. AIDS United supports supervised injection facility implementation as part of a locally responsive harm-reduction approach to prevent both HIV and hepatitis C transmission and combat the opioid crisis.
“We are in the midst of an opioid crisis and, frighteningly, we are also behind the curve when it comes to supporting programs and policies needed to end the epidemic,” said Ronald Johnson, AIDS United vice president of policy & advocacy. “The science is clear: supervised injection facilities work, and can be a critical part of a comprehensive approach to ending both the opioid and HIV epidemics.”
Supervised injection facilities create a critical gateway to other services for people who inject drugs because they are co-located with other social, medical and behavioral health providers designed around meeting the unique needs of this medically underserved population. Supervised injection facilities also benefit the community by decreasing the number of discarded needles, reducing public consumption of drugs and drug-related crime and by reducing the number of overdoses in the community. Globally, approximately 100 supervised injection facilities exist in 10 countries, including Canada.
“We all know someone who has been directly or indirectly impacted by the opioid crisis in this country. Supervised injection facilities are an important tool in the response to drug addiction, overdose and the HIV epidemic,” said Johnson.
About AIDS United: AIDS United’s mission is to end the AIDS epidemic in the U.S., through strategic grant-making, capacity building, formative research and policy. Formed out of a merger between National AIDS Fund and AIDS Action in late 2010, AIDS United works to ensure access to life-saving HIV/AIDS care and prevention services and to advance sound HIV/AIDS-related policy for U.S. populations and communities most impacted by the epidemic. To date, our strategic grant-making initiatives have directly funded more than $98 million to local communities, and have leveraged more than $115 million in additional investments for programs that include, but are not limited to, HIV prevention, access to care, capacity building, harm reduction and advocacy. www.aidsunited.org.