New York, NY – OnPoint NYC, operator of the only locally-approved overdose prevention centers (OPCs) in the United States, released a baseline report with detailed findings from year one of their operation, the first report of its kind. The OPC model allows for trained professionals to be immediately present at the onset of concerning symptoms, able to intervene within seconds. The model also plays a critical role in bringing public drug use inside, removing hazardous waste from public spaces, and connecting people who use drugs with treatments and other health services. Findings show that proper training and proximity were key in preventing overdose deaths and other health risks associated with drug use. As the overdose crisis, driven by the increasingly potent, unpredictable drug supply, claims over 100,000 lives every year nationwide, this groundbreaking report underscores the urgency around replicating this model and opening OPCs across the country.
First year findings include:
The report is accompanied by a series of videos that feature conversations with participants who rely on the medical care and holistic services OnPoint provides.
“I’m from Washington Heights. I slept in a park for like four years. Nobody don’t see you for who you are, you’re just a homeless person,” said Shawn, an OnPoint participant featured in one of the videos. “[A staff member] talked me into coming here… and I got the best treatment. I got treated like I was human. This place actually sees you… they try to help you the most. That’s a good feeling… being a part of society.”
“At times I struggled, but throughout the process, it gave me opportunity and it gave me the resources I needed by not judging me throughout my addiction to heroin and crack cocaine,” said Brian, a Former OPC Participant featured in another video. “[There] wasn’t a lot of resources out there but the OPC, and they really gave me the opportunity to transition, to being sober and met me where I was at, and I’m very appreciative to that.”
This deeper look at the participants, the model, and the learnings of these centers further illustrate the impact that OPCs could have across the country with the support of state and federal government. OnPoint’s two years of successfully serving these communities illustrates the transformative power of centering compassion over punishment.
“The findings from OnPoint NYC’s baseline report illustrate the effectiveness of safe, responsive spaces in preventing overdose death, improving health outcomes, and facilitating connections to other services and supports,” said Toni Smith, Director of New York State at Drug Policy Alliance. “Amid efforts to punish and arrest people who use drugs, these findings, along with accounts from participants, community members, and government officials, can serve as evidence that OPCs can and should be supported across the country as a life-saving tool in fighting our nation’s overdose crisis.”
About Drug Policy Alliance
The Drug Policy Alliance is the leading organization in the U.S. working to end the drug war, repair its harms, and build a non-punitive, equitable, and regulated drug market. We envision a world that embraces the full humanity of people, regardless of their relationship to drugs. We advocate that the regulation of drugs be grounded in evidence, health, equity, and human rights. In collaboration with other movements and at every policy level, we change laws, advance justice, and save lives. Learn more at drugpolicy.org.