The Costs and Benefits of a Supervised Use Site in Denver, Colorado

Amos Irwin, Thamanna Vasan, Lisa Raville (2019)

In recent years, Colorado has made strides in establishing and improving vital harm reduction services like sterile syringe access programs and naloxone distribution, but our communities still experience far too many needless overdose deaths. Multiple counties in Colorado, including Denver, have had overdose rates among the
highest in the nation. Public injecting is also an ongoing concern. Just in Denver in 2018 alone, at least 25 people passed away from overdose in public locations such as parks, alleys, parking lots, and business restrooms. These deaths were unnecessary and preventable.
Along with the risk of overdose, unsafe injection practices are associated with blood-borne disease transmission and skin and soft tissue infection (SSTI)—also extremely costly, yet preventable, concerns. Injection drug use is the primary cause of new hepatitis C virus (HCV) infections in Colorado, with half of all reported cases occurring among people who inject drugs (PWID). In the past year, more than half of all PWID in the city of Denver experienced a skin or soft tissue infection, requiring them to utilize emergency rooms and hospital beds.
Prevention and treatment are important aspects of our public health infrastructure, but they are not enough. By enhancing harm reduction services that directly address the risks associated with continued drug use, we can better mitigate some of the most costly problems and improve access to effective public health resources that would better protect our communities.

The Costs and Benefits of a Supervised Use Site in Denver, Colorado

The Costs and Benefits of a Supervised Use Site in Denver, Colorado (546)

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In partnership with:
ISFF
FUAS
Correlation Network