Originally Published in RAND | Full Story Link Here
Current levels of opioid-related morbidity and mortality in the United States are staggering. Data for 2017 indicate that there were more than 47,000 opioid-involved overdose deaths, and one in eight adults now reports having had a family member or close friend die from opioids. Increasing the availability and reducing the costs of approved medications for those with an opioid use disorder (OUD) is imperative; however, jurisdictions addressing OUDs and overdose may wish to consider additional interventions. Two interventions that are implemented in some other countries but not in the United States are heroin-assisted treatment (HAT; sometimes referred to as supervised injectable heroin treatment) and supervised consumption sites (SCSs; sometimes referred to as overdose prevention sites). Given the severity of the opioid crisis, there is urgency to evaluate tools that might reduce its impact and save lives. In this mixed-methods report, the authors assess evidence on and arguments made about HAT and SCSs and examine some of the issues associated with implementing them in the United States.