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Harm reduction policy is an alternative approach to addressing opioid-related drug addiction with a focus on reducing the negative impacts of opioid use on users through rehabilitation efforts and communities as a whole. Opioid addiction and overdose is a growing epidemic in the United States. Drug overdose is a leading cause of death among individuals under 50 years old, and in 2017, more than 70,000 people died from drug overdose. Comparably, in 2017, 42,000 people died in traffic accidents. This research examines the potential of harm reduction policies to address the current opioid epidemic in the United States. Existing research on supervised injection facilities (SIF) shows benefits for both drug users and non-drug users: SIF offer drug users a safe place to inject illicit drugs and provides non-drug users a safer community through reduced drug-related harm. While there are upfront costs to build these facilities, research shows for every 10 years a SIF is in operation, there will be an estimated savings of 14 million dollars through reduced hospitalization expenses, fewer emergency department visits, and decreased ambulance expenses. InSite, a supervised injection facility in Vancouver serves an average of 415 injection room visits per day, and is a primary source demonstrating improved quality of life for those who frequent the facility. Being the first SIF in North America, it demonstrates what services future injection facilities in the U.S. could potentially provide. In an effort to accurately present research, we will emphasize the lives and money saved from implementing supervised injection facilities. Through presenting this research, we anticipate future policy discussions about the benefits SIFs could provide to communities around.
reduction, efforts, affect, local, communities, opioid, overdose
Blamires, Sara; Snow, Katie; and Isom, Brian, "How Do Harm Reduction Efforts Affect Local Communities?" (2019). Fall Student Research Symposium 2019. 1.