Supervised injecting facilities
What is an injection drug use?
Injection drug use is a process whereby one or more psychoactive substance is injected directly into the body using a hypodermic needle and syringe. Although many drug users don’t like this way of taking drugs because of discomfort or fear of needles, it is often the preferredmethod of consumption because the drug enters the blood stream more quickly and directly than with other methods (e.g., smoking, swallowing, or snorting). It is considered by injection drug users (IDUs) to be more efficient, less wasteful and therefore less costly than other means of consumption.
Definition and history of a SIF
Definition: SIFs are legally sanctioned, medically supervisedfacilities where intravenous drug users are allowed to inject pre-obtained drugs in a more protected, hygienic and less stressful environment compared with most other private and public settings.
SIFs were originally established by local health service providers in the Netherlands (1970s), Switzerland (1980s) and Germany (1994) in order to minimize the public nuisance associated with injection druguse.
The Sifs also provide a clean and protected environment for these people in order to reduce the transmission of HIV or other blood-borne viruses, the risk of overdose and public disorder. They are also an entry point to psychosocial and medical services.
The first officially sanctioned supervised injecting facility (SIF) opened in Switzerland in 1986. Until 2000, only Germany and theNetherlands had joined Switzerland in offering such services in major cities.
Then, SIFs have begun operating in Spain, Australia, Canada, Norway, and Luxembourg. Currently, there are approximately 40–50 legal SIFs in operation throughout the world.
Who operates and funds SIFs?
While most facilities adhere to similar operational practices, funding sources vary among SIFs. For example:
* InFrankfurt, local businesses provided in-kind support and played an important role in establishing SIFs
* In the Netherlands, Switzerland and Germany Various financial institutions, non-governmental sources and private donors fund SIFs.
* In Sydney, Australia, the New South Wales Government recruited a non-governmental organization to establish and operate the SIF
What is a SupervisedInjection Facility (SIF)?
SIFs are an easily accessible service typically run by nurses, social and public health workers or other medical staff. They provide sterilized injection equipment and counselling to users, but they are not typically allowed to provide drugs or directly assist in the process of injection.
Canadian researcher Dr. Benedikt Fischer has clearly summarized the maingoals of SIFs:
a) to reduce acute mortality and morbidity risks among the drug users
b) to bring these people in contact with health and treatment services. But it’s not only a problem of health for the drugs users. There are also personal and Social Factors associated with injection drug use: the drug users experience interpersonal difficulties and social isolation, causing relationship problemswith friends and family. They also experience stigmatization and stereotyping as a drug “addict”, and they have unstable living arrangements and may be homeless. That’s why the SIFs are a way to socialize the drugs users.
c) the last goal is to reduce public order problems related to intravenous drug use as the drug use in public or discarded needles.
SIFs are commonly located in areas wherepublic drug use is considered a nuisance and a serious public health concern. They are known by various names worldwide, including: Injection room, “Fixer”-room, Safe Injection Site, Safer Injection Facility, Supervised Injection Site, Supervised Injection Facility.
While SIFs are often referred to as “Safe” injection Facilities, the term “Safer” or “Supervised” is more appropriate because any...