These Safe injections sites also known as drug consumption rooms (DCRs), safe injection rooms, and supervised injection sites/facilities/centers, began in Europe in the 1980s. They now exist in cities in Switzerland, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain and Australia. The first safe injection site in North America, Insite, began operating as a pilot project in Vancouver, BC in 2003, and was recently given the go-ahead to remain open after a Supreme Court battle with the federal government (Keen, 2003).
Injection drug use continues to be associated with an array of significant health and social consequences throughout North America. These consequences are tied directly to the consumption of illicit drugs of unknown potency and composition, and the sharing of contaminated injection equipment; and indirectly, through unprotected sex with drug injectors, and through injectors’ immersion in black-market pursuits that result frequently in violent exchanges with criminals and the police.
Keen (2003) states that in the United States, injection drug use accounts for approximately 25% of all cumulative AIDS cases nationwide, but closer to 50% of all cases in several northeastern States. The number of new HIV infections reported nationwide among injectors increased 300% in the 1990s, from 6,474 new infections in 1993, to 13,969 in 1995, 17,344 in 1998 and 18,882 in 1999. ...