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Public health researchers recommend safe injection facilities in Baltimore

March 15, 2017
by Gary A. Enos, Editor
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Researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health have suggested that establishing two safe injection facilities (SIFs) in Baltimore would reduce harms from an opioid epidemic that shows little sign of easing, The Baltimore Sun reported last month.

An Abell Foundation-commissioned report written by the researchers has come under criticism from several current and former government officials, while harm reduction advocates have given one of the researchers a grant to hire a community organizer to build support for the idea of SIFs in Baltimore.

The Baltimore health commissioner, Leanna Wen, believes the city would need the federal government's blessing in order to operate such facilities legally, and she fears that moving forward with such a plan could endanger the city's federal funding. Wen will be a keynote speaker at the National Conference on Addiction Disorders (NCAD) in Baltimore this August; the conference is presented by the publishers of Addiction Professional.

Already established in communities in Canada and 10 other countries, supervised injection facilities are seen by supporters as a way to preserve lives amid a devastating heroin crisis. Seattle is the U.S. community that is farthest along in plans to establish such an operation.