A new cost-benefit analysis led by Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health researchers and collaborators revealed that safe drug sites would save $6 million annually in opioid epidemic-related costs.
In safe consumption spaces, people can utilize illicit drugs, while being monitored by medical staff, which are trained to treat overdoses. Advocates say it prevents drug users from being forced to use in high-risk places, such as on street corners and in abandoned buildings.
Users would also have access to social services like housing assistance and drug treatment.
In American, safe consumption spaces are illegal, but are utilized in some countries. Advocates are pushing to open locations throughout the United States, including two locations in Baltimore.
The findings revealed that the spaces would reduce, hepatitis C infections, HIV, overdose deaths, hospitalizations and overdose-related ambulance calls.
“No one has ever died from an overdose in a safe consumption space,” lead author, Susan G. Sherman, a professor in the Department of Health, Behavior and Society at the Bloomberg School, said in a statement. “Thousands of lives have been saved. There are lots of doors people can walk through when they are addicted to drugs. We want them to walk through a door that may eventually lead to successful treatment – and keep them alive until they are ready for that.”
Just this year, a measure permitting safe consumption spaces failed in the Maryland General Assembly.