Injecting Facility Reduces Illicit Drug Use Overdose Deaths

Mortality rate from drug overdoses falls after supervised injecting facility opens

MONDAY, April 18 (HealthDay News) -- A supervised injecting facility (SIF), where drug users can inject pre-obtained illicit drugs, appears to reduce overdose mortality, according to a study published online April 18 in The Lancet.

In a retrospective study, Brandon D.L. Marshall, Ph.D., of the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada, and colleagues evaluated population-based overdose mortality rates for the period before (Jan 1, 2001, to Sept 20, 2003) and after (Sept 21, 2003, to Dec 31, 2005) the opening of the Vancouver SIF.

Of 290 decedents, the investigators found that 89 deaths (30.7 percent) occurred in city blocks within 500 m of the SIF. The fatal overdose rate in the area decreased from 253.8 to 165.1 deaths per 100,000 person-years (35 percent; P = 0.048) after the opening of the SIF, while the fatal overdose rate in the rest of the city decreased from 7.6 to 6.9 deaths per 100,000 person-years (9.3 percent; P = 0.490).

"Our results suggest that SIFs are an effective intervention to reduce community overdose mortality in Canada and in other cities internationally, and should be considered for assessment particularly in communities with high levels of injection drug use," the authors write.

One author disclosed financial relationships with several pharmaceutical companies.

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