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In the Canadian province of British Columbia there was a rapid rise in overdose deaths from 2015, leading to the declaration of a public health emergency in 2016. The response rested on three key interventions: take-home naloxone, opioid substitution therapy, and drug consumption rooms. The province’s highly detailed surveillance data offered an opportunity to estimate their collective and individual impacts on opioid overdose deaths.
STUDY 2003 PDF file 151Kb
'Most compelling evidence yet' that injecting rooms reduce overdose deaths
A review of all 19 drug consumption rooms in Germany commissioned by the Ministry of Health concluded that they had significantly contributed to reductions in drug-related deaths.
STUDY 2005 PDF file 180Kb
Environmental gains from injecting room
Reducing offence and alarm caused by public injecting and related litter is a key motivation for establishing supervised injecting facilities, but one rarely subject to scientific scrutiny. This Canadian study established that these benefits really can materialise.
The safer injecting facility in Vancouver prevented overdose deaths but only in areas nearest the service, suggesting that often several facilities will be needed to make a city-wide impact.
Evidence that the supervised injecting centre which opened in 2001 in Sydney’s ‘red light’ district resulted in fewer opioid overdoses requiring an ambulance, relieving pressure on emergency services.
MATRIX CELL 2017 HTM file
Drug Matrix cell A1: Interventions; Reducing harm
Seminal and key studies on the effectiveness of harm reduction interventions such as needle exchanges.
HOT TOPIC 2016 HTM file
Harm reduction: what’s it for?
‘Hot topics’ offer background and analysis on important issues which sometimes generate heated debate. Opposing agendas have led to a shifting balance between seeing harm-reduction as acceptable only in the service of the greater good of reducing or eliminating drug use, versus seeing it as the overriding objective, one which should never be sacrificed to an anti-drugs agenda.
DOCUMENT 1987 HTM file
High time for harm reduction
Impelled by the injecting-related AIDS crisis, Merseyside was where harm reduction in the UK first took root. From there in 1987 came this groundbreaking call for a turn away from what was seen as a failed attempt to prevent use to mitigating the harm. Expressed modestly as a “prudent” suggestion, with Russell Newcombe’s essay, “harm reduction” had come of age.
REVIEW 2019 HTM file
Supervised consumption sites: a nuanced assessment of the causal evidence
How high should the evidence bar be set when deciding whether to endorse drug consumption rooms?
STUDY 2001 PDF file 98Kb
Opiate detoxification: spending more may save long term
British study suggests that inadequately supervised outpatient programmes may be a waste of money and that costly specialist inpatient programmes are not necessarily more costly per abstinent outcome, but methodological flaws cloud the picture.
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