Philadelphians For Comprehensive User Engagement Sites/Supervised Injection Facilities
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Last year, a petition was started to ask the Mayor's Task Force to Address the Opioid Epidemic in Philadelphia to recommend Comprehensive User Engagement Sites (CUES, aka Supervised Injection Facilities). Over 2,000 people signed this petition and the Task Force did in fact make the recommendation. Now it is time for Philadelphia's City Council to understand that many Philadelphians do in fact support CUES.
The rising opioid-related overdose death crisis is a national catastrophe and Philadelphia has been hit especially hard. Prior to last year, the number of opioid-related overdose deaths in Philadelphia already had nearly doubled over a four-year period from 459 deaths in 2013 to 907 deaths in 2016 . With an estimated 1,200 opioid-related overdose deaths in Philadelphia in 2017, the overdose death toll keeps rising with no turning of the tide in sight. As the crisis escalates, it is evident that the current strategies and services in place in Philadelphia are sorely insufficient in reducing opioid-related overdose deaths. The present need is great for Philadelphia to deploy innovative strategies to save lives now.
On January 23, 2018, City officials in Philadelphia announced that the City would be welcoming proposals from organizations to open a Comprehensive User Engagement Site (also known as Supervised Injection Facility). This announcement was based on a recommendation to explore the possibility that came from the Mayor's Task Force to Address the Opioid Epidemic in Philadelphia. The City announced that while it is now welcoming proposals, any organization wishing to open one of these sites must do so with private funding (no tax dollars will be used).
Comprehensive User Engagement Sites, or CUES, are designed to, among other things, reduce opioid-related overdose deaths by allowing for medically supervised drug use that provides quick access to Naloxone in the event of an overdose. There are over 100 CUES like facilities across the world, with Vancouver's Insite being the most well-studied facility, and there have been zero fatal overdoses reported in any of these worldwide sites. The evidence is clear: CUES prevent fatal overdose deaths. A comprehensive report commissioned by City of Philadelphia officials found that up to 74 lives would be saved in Philadelphia as a result of having a CUES.
In addition to preventing overdose deaths, CUES will connect people to medical care, mental health/addiction treatment, social services, housing and more. CUES are designed to support the most vulnerable drug users who present the most complex challenges. CUES are a way to engage the people our system has not been able to engage and, in addition to preventing death, connect people to resources and services to support their wellness.
If you support CUES in Philadelphia as a life-saving strategy to prevent preventable opioid-related overdose deaths and as a way to engage people who have otherwise been unengaged by our system, please sign this petition. There are some who believe that Philadelphians do not support this intervention - we need to show them that there are many of us who do support CUES.
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