Supervised Injection Facilities and International LawIan Malkin, Richard Elliott, Rowan McRae (2003)
The ongoing public health crisis associated with injection drug use highlights the failure of prohibitionist policies. In contrast, harm reduction approaches aim to protect and promote the health of drug users. Supervised injection facilities (SIFs) are one important component of this approach. This article considers the international legal implications of establishing SIFs. It argues that implementing trials of SIFs is an appropriate measure that states should take pursuant to their international legal obligations to realize progressively the right of their nationals to the highest attainable standard of health. It argues that international drug control treaties do not prevent such measures, as is commonly claimed. The authors conclude that successful trials in Europe and Australia should be emulated elsewhere, in accordance with states' international obligations.