Benefits to the community

Reduced cost/burden on the health care system

SIFs are an effective and efficient use of public health care resources.30

Resources and money are saved by:

  • less ambulances attending overdoses
  • less emergency department admissions
  • Fewer costs associated with new HIV/Hepatitis cases, and other health conditions related to injecting drug use.10, 11, 30-33

Evidence shows: 

Sydney Ambulance call-outs to Kings Cross dropped by approximately 80% after the centre opened,(10) and the average monthly emergency department presentations that were opioid-related fell by 20%.(33)
Melbourne Ambulance attendances involving naloxone (a drug that reverses opioid overdoses) have reduced by 25% within one km of the facility since it opened.(11)
Vancouver Using conservative estimates, a study found that Vancouver's injecting centre prevents on average 35 new cases of HIV and almost three deaths each year. This provides a societal benefit in excess of $6 million per year.(30)
hand reaching out to help

No increase in drug-related crime

Opponents of SIFs argue that they will lead to increased crime and drug use in the neighbourhoods where they are located.

There has been no evidence of this.34

Systematic reviews of SIFs around the world have shown that:

  • establishment of a facility does not increase drug consumption, drug dealing or crime in surrounding areas.35
  • SIFs are associated with improvements in public order without increasing drug-related crime.36

Reduced evidence of drug use in public

SIFs give people a private – safer - space to inject drugs. This reduces public injecting and discarding of injecting equipment, such as needles or syringes, which can otherwise be left lying around in unsafe places.37-40

Evidence shows:

Sydney Six years from opening Sydney’s MSIC the number of discarded needles and syringes collected in the local area approximately halved.(33)
Melbourne There was a decrease in the proportion of residents (24% down to 20%) and business respondents (27% down to 22%) who saw public injecting during the centre’s trial period.(11)
“I remember the needles in the gutter and the constant ambulances before the Medically Supervised Injecting Centre opened.”13

Local Kings Cross resident and business owner (Sydney MSIC)

“I am very grateful that this facility will continue to operate just down the road from where I live. Long may it continue.”13

Local Kings Cross resident (Sydney MSIC)

Further information on the positive impacts of SIFs: