Tuesday Press Conference: Statewide Push for “Safer Consumption Spaces” to Combat Skyrocketing Overdoses Launches with over 100 NYC Healthcare Providers Announcing Their Support

Press Release April 19, 2017
Media Contact

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<p>Jeremy Saunders, 917-676-8041, [email protected]&nbsp;<br />
Kassandra Frederique, 646-209-0374, [email protected]</p>

New York, NY: In response to New York State's overdose and opioid epidemic, a coalition of healthcare professionals, public health experts, advocates, and people with a history of drug use are launching a statewide campaign calling for the creation of safer consumption spaces (SCS)/supervised injection facilities (SIF) where people can legally consume previously-purchased illicit drugs with supervision from peers and healthcare professionals who help make their use safer.

The campaign begins with the release of an open letter signed by more than 100 New York City healthcare professionals in support of safer consumption spaces and press conference where advocates will urge elected representatives to consider safer consumption spaces (SCS)/supervised injection facilities (SIF) as an innovative harm reduction tool to prevent further disease and death in our communities.

Safer Consumption Spaces Campaign Launch
What: Press conference to release an open letter in support of safer consumption spaces signed by more than 100 New York City healthcare professionals
When: Tuesday, April 25th, 10am
Where: 250 Broadway, Assembly Hearing Room

The press conference also launches a 10-day tour of Safe Shape, a model of a safer consumption space and a screening of “Everywhere But Safe,” a documentary about public injection in NYS, followed by a panel and community conversation in the evenings.

Tour sites will include cities that have been hard-hit by the overdose crisis: Albany, Poughkeepsie, New York City, Ithaca, Buffalo, Rochester, and Syracuse. 

Safe Shape Statewide Tour

What: Safe Shape is a traveling exhibit that demonstrates what a safer consumption space looks like and educates the public on the harm reduction philosophy and practice. The tour will also include a screening of “Everywhere But Safe,” a documentary about public injection in NYS.

When: April 26 – May 5, 2017 (See below for full information)

Locations:Albany, Poughkeepsie, the Bronx, City Hall NYC, Ithaca, Rochester, Syracuse, and Buffalo

Safe Shape NY Tour Schedule:

4/26: AlbanyRegister Here!

Exhibit:South Concourse at the Capitol Building, 10am-3pm

Empire State Plaza, Albany, NY 12210

Screening:Albany Convention Center- Meeting Room 7, 9am-11am

Empire State Plaza, Albany, NY 12210


4/27: AlbanyRegister Here!

Exhibit:SUNY Albany, Campus Center, 1pm-5pm

Campus Center 137-1400 Washington Ave Albany, NY 12222

Screening:SUNY Albany- Lecture Center 7, 7:15pm-9pm

1400 Washington AvenueAlbany, NY 12222


4/28: PoughkeepsieRegister Here!

Exhibit:Vassar College, 1pm-5pm

124 Raymond Ave. Poughkeepsie, NY 12604

Screening:Vassar College, 6pm-8pm

124 Raymond Ave. Poughkeepsie, NY 12604


4/30: NYC- South BronxRegister Here!

Exhibit:Saint Mary's Park, 12pm-5pm

450 St Ann's Ave, Bronx, NY 10455

Screening: Bronx Documentary Center, 5pm-7pm

614 Courtlandt Ave, Bronx, NY 10451


5/1:NYCRegister Here!

Exhibit:City Hall Park, 1pm-5pm

43 Park Row, New York, NY 10038

Screening:CUNY School of Public Health,5pm-8pm

55 W 125th St, New York, NY 10027


5/2: IthacaRegister Here!

Exhibit:Ithaca Commons- Bernie Milton Pavilion,1:30pm-5:30pm

Screening: Ithaca College- Hill Center 104,7pm-9pm

953 Danby Rd Ithaca, NY 14850


5/3: BuffaloRegister Here!

Exhibit: Lafayette Square, 1pm-5pm

Main St and Washington St, Buffalo, NY 14203

Screening: Hotel @ the Lafayette,6pm-8pm

391 Washington Street, Buffalo, NY 14203


5/4: Rochester Register Here!
Exhibit: MLK Jr. Memorial Lodge- 1pm-5pm

353 Court St, Rochester, NY 14607

Screening: MLK Jr. Memorial Lodge, 6pm-8pm

353 Court St, Rochester, NY 14607


5/5: SyracuseRegister Here!
Exhibit: Billings Park, 1pm-5pm

S Salina St & E Adams St, Syracuse, NY 13202

Screening: Southside Innovation Center, 6pm-8pm

2610 S Salina St, Syracuse, NY 13205



Nationally, there have been 500,000 opioid-related deaths between 2000 and 2015. In 2015 alone, opioid and heroin overdoses killed 52,404 people–more people than traffic accidents and homicides combined. In New York State, overdose deaths increase by 20.4% from 2014 to 2015. And emergency departments across the state saw 37,347 opioid-related outpatient visits (73.1% increase from 2010) and 75,110 opioid-related inpatient hospital admissions (3% increase from 2010) in 2014. Also due to increases in injection drug use, regions of New York have seen increases of 3% to 47% in new cases of hepatitis C since 2012.

To serve hard-to-reach communities across our state and to assure public health response to problematic substance use, we must provide a point-of-care intervention for people who use drugs that will provide all of the necessary harm reduction tools and resources within a safer consumption space. This includes:

Safer Consumption Spaces

Safer consumption spaces (SCS), also called supervised injection facilities (SIFs) are places where people can legally consume previously-purchased illicit drugs with supervision from peers and healthcare professionals who help participants to make their use safer. Internationally, SCS have been tremendously effective in reducing rates of HIV infection, HCV infection, and overdose deaths, as well as improving public order by reducing improper syringe disposal and decreasing drug arrests.

While SCS do not yet exist in the United States, there is a lot of interest and progress in opening safer spaces across the nation. Kings County in Washington State has been approved to open the nation’s first SCS, Maryland and Vermont have both introduced legislation to approve them, and California legislators have expressed interest. 

Learn more: http://www.drugpolicy.org/supervised-injection-facilities

A young woman holds a sign that says "End the Drug War."

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