Supervised Consumption Facilities and Public Order

"We found significant reductions in public injection drug use, publicly discarded syringes and injection-related litter after the opening of the medically supervised safer injecting facility in Vancouver. These reductions were independent of law enforcement activities and changes in rainfall patterns.
"Our findings are consistent with anecdotal reports of improved public order following the establishment of safer injecting facilities and are not surprising given that a commonly reported reason for public drug use is the lack of an alternative place to inject and that IDUs who go to safer injecting facilities are often homeless or marginally housed. Our findings are also highly plausible since more than 500 IDUs visited the facility daily after it opened, and several feasibility studies have suggested that IDUs who inject in public would be the most likely to use safer injecting facilities. Our observations suggest that the establishment of the safer injecting facility has resulted in measurable improvements in public order, which in turn may improve the liveability of communities and benefit tourism while reducing community concerns stemming from public drug use and discarded syringes. It is also noteworthy that we did not observe an increase in the number of drug dealers in the vicinity of the facility, which indicates that the facility's opening did not have a negative impact on drug dealing in the area. Although further study of these issues is necessary, the safer injecting facility may also offer public health benefits, since public injection drug use has been associated with an array of health-related harms."


Wood, Evan, Thomas Kerr, Will Small, Kathy Li, David C. Marsh, Julio S.G. Montaner & Mark W. Tyndall, "Changes in Public Order After the Opening of a Medically Supervised Safer Injecting Facility for Illicit Injection Drug Users," Canadian Medical Association Journal, Vol. 171, No. 7, Sept. 28, 2004, p. 733.