Warren, Sanders and de Blasio are the only 2020 presidential candidates who have voiced support for SIFs.
US Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders endorsed safer consumption spaces in late August, a position lauded by harm reduction advocates.
Safer consumption spaces, also known as supervised injection facilities (SIFs) or overdose prevention sites, “are clinical but community-oriented spaces” where people may use under medical supervision and have a place to access information about treatment for substance use disorder.
Those in favor of SIFs say “the facilities keep people alive during the drug-using phases of their lives, while also offering them a hand up to a new and better life.”
Both Warren and Sanders, who are running for president, said they would support SIFs, if elected.
As reported by The Hill, Sanders would “legalize safe injection sites and needle exchanges around the country, and support pilot programs for supervised injection sites, which have been shown to substantially reduce drug overdose deaths.”
Warren would “support evidence-based safe injection sites and needle exchanges and expand the availability” of naloxone.
Lindsay LaSalle, director of public health law and policy with the Drug Policy Alliance, said the candidates’ endorsement is “significant.” “It shows that there are candidates who, in the context of the opioid crisis… that they’re willing to think outside of the box and look at interventions that have proven successful in other countries.”
SIFs Around The World
There are approximately 120 safer consumption spaces currently operating in 12 countries, according to the Drug Policy Alliance.
A visit to Vancouver’s Insite was able to convince Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross that his city needed to follow suit. He said the experience changed him from being “adamantly against [the sites] to having an open mind.”
Safehouse, the organization trying to open the nation’s first safer consumption spaces in Philadelphia, will fight the good fight in court against the federal government, which has sued the organization for violating federal law.
“Either way it’s decided, it will set the first legal precedent in the country,” said LaSalle.
Harm reduction and recovery advocate, Ryan Hampton, told Truthout that he would have attempted recovery sooner had he had access to safer consumption spaces.
“I would have found my way into recovery much sooner, because I would have established trust with a clinician, a qualified health care provider, instead of some shady treatment center that was just trying to rip off my insurance company, or my mother,” Hampton said.