America’s Forgotten History of Supervised Opioid Injection

Over the past year, a Philadelphia nonprofit, Safehouse, has been making headlines with its controversial plan to open the U.S.’s first supervised injection site. The proposed facility would allow Philadelphians with opioid addiction to inject drugs like heroin under the watchful eye of nurses equipped to intervene in accidental overdoses. The clients would provide their own opioids, but the nonprofit would supply needles, provide kits to test drugs for dangerous levels of fentanyl, and connect clients to treatment services.

Supervised injection sites are similar to buprenorphine treatment programs and methadone clinics, where doctors dispense medicines to help clients stay in recovery from opioid addiction. But…



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