Ninety percent of residents and 63 percent of business owners and staff surveyed in Philadelphia’s Kensington neighborhood support opening an overdose prevention site in their community, according to a study led by researchers at Drexel University Dornsife School of Public Health published this week in the Journal of Urban Health. Overdose prevention sites – also known as supervised injection facilities or safe consumption sites – are places where individuals use previously obtained drugs under the supervision of a trained health professional who can intervene in case of overdoses and link visitors to additional health services.
There are no overdose prevention sites in the United States, but studies show that an overdose prevention site (OPS) can save lives and facilitate access to substance use treatment, while possibly reducing rates of public injection and publicly discarded syringes.
“Since Kensington has been a proposed site for an OPS, it is important to hear the opinions from residents and businesses about placing them in their neighborhoods as well as their exposure to drug related activity,” said lead author Dr. Alexis M. Roth, an assistant professor of community health and prevention at Dornsife. In the largest survey to date of a neighborhood’s attitudes toward an OPS, the researchers conducted in-person surveys of 360 adult residents and 79 business owners and staff in Kensington.
Study participants were asked how often they saw drug-related activity, such as public drug use, in their neighborhood during the past 30 days, and whether they support an overdose prevention site opening in Kensington. More than 90 percent had witnessed public injection or observed discarded syringes in their neighborhood in the past 30 days.Friday Letter Submission, Publish on June 21