Safe Injection Rooms in the News

There have been several recent articles about supervised injection centers. Here’s a recent one praising an Australian center and another from today asking hard questions about the same center.

Personally, I’m underwhelmed with the referral rates. The first article cites more referrals than the second, I’m not sure where the discrepancy comes from. They also don’t clearly define “referral.” Is it a passive referral, “call this number”; or an active referral, “we’ll take you directly to the detox center right now”? There’s a big difference. Whatever the definition or the number, the best scenario is a 1.7% referral rate. I don’t know what a good referral rate would be, but I’m not impressed.

In Vancouver, there’s concern about the future of the supervised injection center because its license is about to expire and the new prime minister opposes the site. At the same time, there have been several articles about the addition of 30 beds to the site. I don’t have a clear understanding of their purpose. They say they are for people waiting for treatment. I guess it would operate like a shelter for them? But, isn’t an injection center a lousy place to shelter someone who’s decided to stop using? Don’t they have any social detoxes or shelters with recovery support services?