Service uptake and characteristics of injection drug users utilizing North America's first medically supervised safer injecting facility

Am J Public Health. 2006 May;96(5):770-3. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2004.057828. Epub 2006 Mar 29.


In 2003, the city of Vancouver, British Columbia, opened North America's first government-sanctioned safer injecting facility, where injection drug users (IDUs) can inject preobtained illicit drugs under the supervision of nurses. Use of the service by IDUs was followed by measurable reductions in public drug use and syringe sharing. IDUs who are frequently using the program tend to be high-intensity cocaine and heroin injectors and homeless individuals. The facility has provided high-risk IDUs a hygienic space where syringe sharing can be eliminated and the risk of fatal overdose reduced. Ongoing evaluation will be required to assess its impact on overdose rates and HIV infection levels, as well as its ability to improve IDU contact with medical care and addiction treatment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Ambulatory Care Facilities*
  • British Columbia
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Drug Overdose / prevention & control
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / prevention & control
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Needle-Exchange Programs / statistics & numerical data*
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Substance Abuse, Intravenous*