Wherever there are people injecting in public, there is a need for a safer injecting facility (SIF). In my opinion.
SIFs are subject to an unnecessary amount of controversy and should ultimately just be seen as an extension of needle and syringe programmes, which we have been providing since the 80’s. So, put simply – we are providing people with sterile injecting equipment to use illicit drugs, surely we should therefore be providing a sterile environment in which to use them?
Perhaps this may seem like a step too far for some. We may not like it, but the reality is that people inject drugs in public places. So if it feels wrong to you to consider providing this service, I invite you to please keep an open mind as you read through these questions and to ask yourself this – ‘If I had a family member who was injecting drugs, what kind of environment would I prefer they did it in?’
I had the privilege of spending two whole weeks in Sydney’s Medically Supervised Injecting Centre (MSIC) while the service was fully operational and I interacted with the clients and staff on a daily basis. Armed with your questions from the Survey, I met with key people and below are your answers (in my own words rather than formal references) which I have tried to keep brief so as not to be too onerous a read.
The list of key papers are provided at the bottom of the page should you wish to do some further reading, many thanks to Allison Salmon of the MSIC for pointing me in the right direction with these and to Dr Marianne Jauncey for checking I had my facts right!
I hope you will find this useful, please do not hesitate to contact me should you require further clarification on any of the points. Meanwhile, I’m off to talk to everyone I can regarding the benefit of SIFs and get on with writing up my report 🙂
Here it is, please click on the link for the full document! – Sydney’s MSIC – your questions answered
JAUNCEY, M., TREVAN, A. P. & SULOVSKY, R. P. 2010. Expecting the unexpected: Intravenous insulin at Sydney’s medically supervised injecting centre. MJA, 192, 477.
JAUNCEY, M., VAN BEEK, I., AM., S. & MAHER, L. 2011. Bipartisan support for Australia’s supervised injecting facility: a decade in the making. MJA, 195, 264.
KIMBER, J., DOLAN, K., VAN BEEK, I., HEDRICH, D. & ZURHOLD, H. 2003. Drug consumption facilities: an update since 2000. Drug and Alcohol Review, 22, 227-233.
KIMBER, J., HICKMAN, M., DEGENHARDT, L., COULSON, T. & VAN BEEK, I. 2008a. Estimating the size and dynamics of an injecting drug user population and implications for health service coverage: comparison of indirect prevalence estimation methods. Addiction, 103, 1604-1613.
KIMBER, J., MATTICK, R. P., KALDOR, J., VAN BEEK, I., GILMOUR, S. & RANCE, J. A. 2008b. Process and predictors of drug treatment referral and referral uptake at the Sydney Medically Supervised Injecting Centre. Drug and Alcohol Review, 27, 602-612.
MAHER, L. & SALMON, A. M. 2007. Supervised injecting facilities: how much evidence is enough? Drug and Alcohol Review, 26, 351-353.
SALMON AM, T. H.-H., KIMBER J, KALDOR JM, MAHER L. 2007. Five years on: what are the community perceptions of drug-related public amenity following the establishment of the Sydney Medically Supervised Injecting Centre? . International Journal of Drug Policy 18.
SALMON, A. M., VAN BEEK, I., AMIN, J., KALDOR, J. & MAHER, L. 2010. The impact of a supervised injecting facility on ambulance call-outs in Sydney, Australia. Addiction, 105, 676-683.
THEIN, H.-H., KIMBER, J., MAHER, L., MACDONALD, M. & KALDOR, J. 2005. Public opinion towards supervised injecting centres and the Sydney Medically Supervised Injecting Centre. International Journal of Drug Policy, 16, 275-280.
VAN BEEK, I. 2003. The Sydney Medically Supervised Injecting Centre: a clinical model. Journal of Drug Issues, 33, 625-638.
VAN BEEK, I., KIMBER, J., DAKIN, A. & GILMOUR, S. 2004. The Sydney Medically Supervised Injecting Centre: reducing harm associated with heroin overdose. Critical Public Health, 14, 391-406.
MARSHALL, B. D., MILLOY, M. J., WOOD, E., MONTANER, J. S. & KERR, T. 2011. Reduction in overdose mortality after the opening of North America’s first medically supervised safer injecting facility: a retrospective population-based study. Lancet, 377, 1429-37.
Enns, E. A., Zaric, G. S., Strike, C. J., Jairam, J. A., Kolla, G., and Bayoumi, A. M. (2015) Potential cost-effectiveness of supervised injection facilities in Toronto and Ottawa, Canada. Addiction