By Troy Farah
In response to the opioid crisis, Canada has been rapidly opening supervised injection sites, safe spaces allowing for injection drug users to consume narcotics like heroin under medical supervision.
But ARCHES, a recently opened facility in Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada comes with a twist—it's the first supervised inhalationsite in North America, allowing drug users to combust and inhale narcotics, such as meth or crack cocaine, under the supervision of trained medical staff.
But these sites have existed around the globe for at least three decades, with more than 100 facilities in more than 66 cities. The research on them shows that they greatly reduce the spread of disease such as HIV and hepatitis C, prevent fatal overdose and connect drug users with addiction treatment and health services. Many link people with job training, counseling or housing services.
In other words, consumption sites are an important harm reduction strategy in the fight against the overdose crisis. Bottom line: they save lives.