How do recreational opioid users perceive supervised injection sites?

How do recreational opioid users perceive supervised injection sites?
Todd Huffman, CC BY 2.0

A new study shows that most people who use opioids recreationally in America would actually be willing to utilize supervised injection facilities (SIFs).

SIFs are legally licensed for intravenous opioid use under medical observation, which are currently in only ten countries — not including the U.S., despite the rising number of opioid-related deaths.

Exploring how opioid users perceive SIFs, the study, published in the Harm Reduction Journal, included 54 young adults — 38 males and 16 females, who were an average age of 26 years old and were mostly Caucasian (71 percent).

Researchers from Brown University School of Public Health selected participants who had either injected drugs in the past and/or were considered to be at risk of starting to use drugs. At-risk participants had close friends or partners who used drugs intravenously.

All participants were surveyed regarding their attitudes about hypothetical injection facilities. When they were asked whether or not they would be willing to use opioids on specific, pre-determined locations with medical supervision, the majority said yes (63 percent).

More than 31 percent said that they would not be willing to use a SIF and less than 6 percent were not sure.

A little more than 87 percent of the participants who had intravenously used drugs in the six months before the study said that they were willing to utilize SIFs. Yet, all of the participants who had a history of injecting opioids on a daily basis during the same period stated that they would be willing to use them.

The research, supported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, also linked willingness to utilize SIFs among recreational opioid users with factors such as homelessness and accidental overdoses. Those willing to use SIFs were more likely to… (continue reading)