Last month, supervised injection facilities, also known as safe injection facilities (SIFs), were thrust back into the news when Philadelphia officials announced the city would likely become the first in the U.S. to adopt the controversial tactic for fighting opioid abuse.
SIFs, which currently operate in Canada, Europe and Australia, offer drug users a place to use heroin and other narcotics under the supervision of medical professionals. (SIFs do not provide drugs, nor do their employees inject users directly.) Proponents say they can help curb overdose deaths, improve injection hygiene and expand access to addiction treatment. Adversaries, meanwhile, argue that they condone and enable illicit drug use.
Here’s what you need to know about the debate around SIFs.