Philadelphia Already Has Safe Injection Sites, But Not For Everyone

As is the case with so many public health problems in the United States, only a select few have safe places to use substances. The rest have to wait on the public’s good will for a safe and effective intervention to be decriminalized.

René F. Najera, MPH, DrPH

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“Matthew T Rader, MatthewTRader.com, License CC-BY-SA

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over 100,000 people lose their lives each year from drug overdoses. Most of them die from overdosing on opioid drugs, as the country continues to suffer from the most recent wave of opioid overdoses and deaths. We epidemiologists — people who study diseases and conditions, who gets them, and what to do about them — know there are viable solutions to the problem. We know because we have studied what works and what doesn’t in many places around the world, starting with Portugal, a model for what drug policy at all levels of government could be doing to stop drug use in general and deaths in particular.

“By 2018, Portugal’s number of heroin addicts had dropped from 100,000 to 25,000. Portugal had the lowest drug-related death rate in Western Europe, one-tenth of Britain and one-fiftieth of the U.S. HIV infections from drug use injection had declined 90%. The…

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René F. Najera, MPH, DrPH

DrPH in Epidemiology. Associate/JHBSPH. Adjunct/GMU. Epidemiologist. Father. Husband. (He/Him/His/El)