Open drug use is a public health issue in Portland. Overdose deaths and hepatitis C rates have increased because people who inject drugs do not have a safe place to use. One approach to dealing with these issues that's shown a great deal of success is the establishment of supervised injection facilities, or SIFs.
SIFs are places where people can inject or consume drugs under supervision of trained personnel and connect to other life-saving services. The city of Vancouver, BC, has a large SIF called Insite, which research has shown to be very effective at reducing overdose and overdose mortality, in addition to having many other positive benefits. There are also SIFs currently operating in Australia, the Netherlands, Germany, and several other European nations. Seattle, WA, and Ithaca, NY, are both considering opening a SIF.
Everywhere But Safe: Public Injecting in New York is a documentary by Taeko Frost and Matt Curtis, filmmakers who are also leaders in public health and harm reduction in New York City. They're coming to Portland to screen their movie and to participate in a community discussion on public drug use, health, and community safety. Is it time for Portland to open a SIF in order to address problematic drug use? On today's show, guest host Doug McVay will be joined by one of the filmmakers, Taeko Frost, and by local activist Israel Bayer, the executive director of StreetRoots, to discuss alternatives to public drug use like SIFs.