Colorado Considering Controversial Safe Drug Injection Sites

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Updated 04/06/2023

Lawmakers focused on work

Colorado lawmakers are looking into the possibility of opening a safe injection site in Denver where drug users could go to inject their drugs safely and privately. Safe drug injection sites exist in Canada and more than 20 cities in Europe, but none yet exist in the United States.

The safe injection sites provide a place for drug users to inject their drugs under medical supervision so that any potential overdose could be treated quickly, and users also have access to support for drug treatment, should they decide they want to pursue it.

Positives of Safe Injection Sites

Proponents of safe injection sites say that they cut down on overdose deaths; at the Vancouver clinics, no one has died since they opened in 2003. Denver city council members recently visited Vancouver to see how the clinics operated and learn more about them.

Another positive aspect of safe injection sites is that they would likely save the city money in medical treatment for drug overdoses and possibly incarcerations over time. A proposed program for a safe injection site in Baltimore studied the impact a site would have and predicted an almost $6 million savings for that city if it implemented a safe injection site.

Other possible benefits to safe injection sites include fewer skin infections, less transmission of Hepatitis C and HIV from using dirty needles, and fewer people injecting drugs in public places where they might leave needles behind or cause other problems for others in the community.

Drawbacks of Safe Injection Sites

One drawback of safe drug injection sites is that communities are wary of having them nearby because of possible criminal activity that may come from having many addicts coming to the area. Several planned sites in Washington State were put on hold in early 2017 because of objections from the community about their locations.

Another drawback is that the sites support illegal activity since the drugs being used are illegal. So far, the federal government has decided to look the other way when it comes to safe injection sites, but changes in leadership could lead to the risk of prosecutions. Those opposed to the sites have said that illegal activity should not be encouraged through the use of such sites.

Then there is the consideration of how to handle sending intoxicated people into the world after they inject the drugs. Will they be allowed to drive while they are high? How will that behavior be prevented? These issues must be dealt with effectively in order for the safe injection sites to be truly safe.

Whether Colorado lawmakers decide to allow safe injection sites to open or not, opportunities to get help for drug addiction exist for those who are ready to seek help. Recovery Village at Palmer Lake offers drug rehab programs that are customized to meet each person’s needs. Learn about admissions and take the first step toward recovery today.

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