"They are just legal shooting galleries"
Amidst the deadliest overdose crisis on record, innovative strategies to reverse the mortality curve are being considered. But negative perceptions and old fears stymie such efforts. Scientific, accurate, and neutral media coverage can advance debates and help communities consider whether interventions like overdose prevention sites are right for their community.
Supervised consumption sites are also not "shooting galleries" where people go to get "high." They are a place to receive health services, and are part of a broad continuum of care that engages people using drugs. There is not a single documented overdose death that has occurred inside one of these facilities.
The Tired Narrative:
Supervised consumption sites, otherwise known as overdose prevention sites, are described as "shooting galleries,""places to get high," and "havens to shoot up."
This harm reduction intervention is often described as "enabling" or "encouraging" people to "shoot up." Overdose prevention sites themselves are also believed to be hubs for crime that make more communities dangerous.
The Informed Narrative:
Numerous American cities are in the midst of implementing overdose prevention sites. While different names are often invoked to describe them, avoiding seedy terms like "drug dens" or "havens to get high" can help the public understand that this is a public health intervention.
Such facilities are staffed by nurses, counselors, and trained overdose responders. They also tend to offer numerous other health care services, and are about much more than a place to drop-in and inject drugs. These facilities are critical points of care that have been demonstrated to improve the lives of people who use drugs in over 100 cities across Europe and Canada.
Connect with Expert Sources:
Sheila Vakharia, Drug Policy Alliance
Leo Beletsky, Northeastern University, Health In Justice Action Lab