How do these services work?
People arrive with their own drugs and are given supplies and education to foster safer drug use practices. Pre-obtained drugs are then used under the safety and supervision of trained personnel. A waiting room is then offered to the individual where information about other health services, social supports in the community, and referrals are available. Trained personnel are always onsite to support individuals accessing services at any point in their visit, and act in the event of a medical emergency.
What is the purpose of supervised consumption services?
Supervised consumption services respect an individual’s choices and support equal health and health access for all. There has been a lot of research done on the benefits these services offer for communities and people who use substances. The four main goals of these services are to:
- save lives and reduce the number of overdoses
- reduce the spread of infectious diseases, such as HIV and hepatitis C
- offer primary health care services, addictions treatment, and social services to people who use drugs
- reducing substance use in public spaces
How have supervised consumption services helped other communities?
In other communities, these services have been shown to:
- reduce opioid overdoses and hospital visits
- reduce opioid overdose deaths
- reduce infectious disease such as HIV, hepatitis C
- increase access to basic health care services such as wound care
- reduce public consumption of illegal drugs
- reduce publicly discarded syringes
- decrease unsafe injection practices (e.g. syringe sharing)
- increase access and referrals to health and social services (including detoxification & substance treatment)
- improve the health of people who use drugs
- be cost-effective solutions for health systems
These services have NOT been shown to:
- shift drug use to different neighbourhoods
- increase rates of intravenous (IV) drug use
- increase drug-related crimes
Are there supervised consumption services in other communities?
Yes, there are supervised consumption services worldwide including Canada. For a list of the current sites learn more at Health Canada.
Would supervised consumption services increase substance use?
There is no evidence that these services promote drug use or lead to an increase in first-time drug use. People do not start using drugs because these services are offered.