March 14, 2018 – Safe Spaces


Anchor lead: Is providing drug users a safe place to use them a good idea? Elizabeth Tracey reports

Safe spaces are places where people who use drugs can go to have their drugs tested, and then use them in an environment that’s clean, safe, and where a medical professional can attend them. Susan Sherman, a professor of public health at Johns Hopkins, says they’re also poised to roll out in the US, and that’s a good thing.

Sherman: It is associated with reductions in HIV, in hepatitis C, in overdose, in the tens of millions of injections that have happened throughout the world in these places, since 1986, where it started in Bern, Switzerland, no one has even died of a fatal overdose. Plenty of people have experienced overdoses but they’ve been revived. It also has been found that people who go to these spaces are more likely to enter drug treatment, it’s amazing what you do when you treat people with dignity and respect, you kind of take some of the great instability and exposure to violence in their lives, like these spaces provide and what happens next.  :32

Sherman is one author of a recent paper looking at how test strips for fentanyl might help. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.