The San Francisco Department of Public Health has unanimously endorsed a task force’s recommendation to open what could become the nation’s first legal safe injection sites aimed at prevention overdose deaths.
Supporters say the facilities will provide a safe space where people can consume previously obtained drugs, such as heroin and fentanyl, under the supervision of staff trained to respond in the event of an overdose or other medical emergency. They also provide counseling and referrals to other social and health services.
The city plans to open the first two facilities in July, the beginning of its fiscal year, Fox 59 reports.
There are an estimated 22,000 intravenous drug users in San Francisco, many of whom openly inject in public areas across the city. Last year, over 100 people died in San Francisco of drug overdose, according to a report published by the city’s Safe Injection Services Task Force.
“I understand the misgivings around it and some of the rhetoric from people who don’t support it,” San Francisco Mayor Mark Farrell said last week. “But we absolutely need to give it a try.”