We need to play that game where we require politicians to finish every sentence denouncing supervised injection facilities with the phrase, “and that is why I think injecting alone in a McDonald’s bathroom is better.”
…when someone comes to a SIF, they don’t just shoot up and leave – they will have access to, if they want it, a litany of other health and wellness amenities. These could include case management, entrance into rehab or detox programs, shelter services, free meals, workforce development training, showers, and more. In this so-called “integrated model”, every interaction builds trust and community, and opens pathways for people to feel empowered to help themselves.
If you keep injecting in your favorite spots over and over without letting the veins repair themselves they will become leaky, making your shot less satisfying and harder to hit; could become seriously infected; and will eventually collapse or scar so badly that they become altogether unusable and interfere with circulation. So, it is very important to rotate the sites you use to inject. Try to use a new site for each new injection and go back to sites you’ve already used only after they’ve had time to rest and repair themselves.
You’re in a room where someone says I’ve been drug free for 14 years and everyone claps, well, I want to be in a room where people will clap because someone has been using sterile syringes for 14 months, and not shared with anyone else.
“We get to know people on a really deep level,” said Mary Howe, executive director of Homeless Youth Alliance. “Not everyone who comes is an injector or is accessing needles. Many people are accessing the staff for just support, or referrals, or other supplies. The focus, although it’s called a syringe access site, is really about building relationships with people and getting their needs met.”
People are injecting already. The point is they’re injecting in unsterile, dangerous conditions. There’s public discarding of syringes; there are children around, families coming by, and they see it. We want to remove that and bring it in where it’s safe, so it’s good for the individuals who use drugs and it’s good for the individuals who don’t use drugs.
Nigel's day job is being the Community Manager at HIT, he also runs the injectingadvice.com website and a number of other online harm reduction projects. In his spare time he can be found hiding behind a camera.
Craig is a committed harm reductionist, having worked primarily with people who inject drugs for two decades, both in the United Kingdom and Australia. A surfer, climber and wannabe novelist, he sometimes takes photographs too.