UK drug related death rates are among the highest in Europe, and are increasing dramatically - reaching record levels for three years in a row. Supervised Injection Facilities (SIFs) significantly reduce: fatal overdoses and needle sharing that can lead to infections, including HIV and hepatitis; high risk public injecting; and discarded needles, while increasing numbers entering treatment.
What is a Supervised Injection Facility?
SIFs (or colloquially ‘fix rooms’ or ‘shooting galleries’) are legally sanctioned facilities where people can inject their own pre-obtained drugs, under medical supervision. Many also allow smoking of drugs (including heroin and crack cocaine), and so are called ‘drug consumption rooms’. They can be in permanent clinics, mobile ambulance style units or temporary structures. They typically provide people who use drugs with:
sterile injecting equipment
a hygienic space to use drugs under medical supervision that they have bought illicitly
primary medical care, and emergency care in the event of overdose
counselling services and referral to social, health-care and treatment services
The UK government’s official advisers - the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) - supports the setting up of supervised injection facilities. SIFs complement and offer a gateway to drug treatment.
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