At peer-run injection sites, drug users help each other stay safe

People who use injection drugs in Vancouver, British Columbia, can do so, if they choose, under the watchful eyes of someone trained to help them if they overdose.

This is the idea behind supervised injection sites, and it’s an approach that over a dozen U.S. cities or states are considering to prevent drug overdose deaths and the spread of disease.

Public health authorities in Vancouver, Canada, have run a supervised drug use center, Insite, since 2003. And as the death toll reaches record levels — 1,422 people died of overdose in British Columbia in 2017 — new grassroots sites are popping up, run not by doctors and nurses, but by drug users themselves.

Gabriel Spitzer/NPR