By Larissa Kyzer / Iceland Review
Alþingi has passed a bill which will make it legal for municipalities around the country to open safe injection sites (SIS) for intravenous drug users, Vísir reports. Heiða Björg Hilmisdóttir, chair of the City of Reykjavík’s Welfare Committee, has praised the bill as a step in the right direction and believes that in Reykjavík, such a facility would do the greatest good if opened downtown. According to the SIS bill, around 700 people use intravenous drugs in Iceland each year. It’s estimated that somewhere between 25 and 40 people would use the Reykjavík SIS initially.
Safe injection sites (also referred to as overdose prevention centres, supervised injection facilities, or drug consumption rooms) are facilities where individuals over the age of 18 can use intravenous drugs in a safe environment, under the supervision of healthcare professionals and without fear of arrest or legal repercussions. They are intended to provide sterile injection supplies, provide healthcare guidance, referrals to rehabilitation and social services, and monitor for overdose, thus decreasing overdose-related expense and pressures on the healthcare system, increasing the likeliness of users seeking treatment and social aid, and reducing behaviours that put users at risk of contracting HIV and Hepatitis C, such as needle sharing.