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Focus on Prevention: The public is more supportive of “overdose prevention sites” than they are of “safe injection facilities"

Criminology and Public Policy, Early View, December 2021

Published onDec 08, 2021
Focus on Prevention: The public is more supportive of “overdose prevention sites” than they are of “safe injection facilities"
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Focus on prevention: The public is more supportive of “overdose prevention sites” than they are of “safe injection facilities”
Description

Research Summary: Using a national survey experiment, we examined Americans’ national and local-level support for facilities that provide a safer space for individuals to consume illicit drugs under the supervision of medical professionals. We determined whether support levels differed based on (1) the label used to refer to such facilities (“safe injection facilities” vs. “overdose prevention sites”), (2) whether beneficial information is provided about these facilities regarding either a crime control framework or a public health framework, or not. We also considered how national support differed from local-level support, and how national or local-level perceptions of the opioid epidemic influenced support. | Policy Implications: We found that the label used to refer to these facilities was the most important factor influencing support levels. The public was also much more supportive of these facilities at the national level than at the local level, which suggests that support for these facilities is impacted by “Not In My Backyard” (NIMBY) concerns. Perceptions of an opioid epidemic either nationally or locally also influenced support levels. The major policy takeaways are that (1) proponents of these facilities should refer to them using labels that highlight overdose prevention (“overdose prevention site”), rather than safe drug use (“safe injection facility”) and (2) discussions about local facilities should be placed in the context of both the national and local opioid epidemic to help mitigate NIMBY concerns.

 

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