I say Yes to OPS in Baltimore, Maryland

Baltimore City Council, Baltimore City Delegates

Baltimore City policymakers need to know that their constituents want life-saving services in our neighborhoods. Services like Overdose Prevention Sites (OPS) that are proven to curb the overdose epidemic and make our neighborhoods safer. Last year, Baltimore lost 954 loved ones to overdose death. We cannot let these numbers continue to rise.

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To: Baltimore City Council, Baltimore City Delegates
From: [Your Name]

The people of Baltimore, Maryland demand that the Maryland legislature authorize the creation of Overdose Prevention Sites (OPS). We are saying "yes" to these life-saving sites to operate in our neighborhoods and across the city of Baltimore.

The overdose crisis has ravaged our city and state for decades. Last year, Baltimore lost 954 loved ones to overdose death. That is one-third of all lives lost to overdose in Maryland in 2020.

We say "yes" to overdose prevention sites in our neighborhoods because there has not been a single overdose fatality at any of the 150+ OPS worldwide. OPS are safe, indoor facilities that provide people who use drugs a place for consumption in the presence of caring professionals who help clients connect to social services and treatment if they want it.

In 12 other countries, overdose prevention sites -- otherwise known as supervised injection facilities and safer drug consumption spaces -- have proven effective at reducing overdose deaths, improving health outcomes and reducing crime rates in their surrounding areas. At these overdose prevention sites, our loved ones and neighbors would have immediate access to life-saving interventions, medical care, emotional support, and non-judgmental therapeutic relationships.

Staff of OPS do not directly assist in consumption or handle any drugs brought in by clients. These trained professionals are present to provide sterile injection supplies, answer questions on safe injection practices, administer first aid if needed, and monitor for overdose. This is particularly pertinent to those who use fentanyl because the onset of overdose is rapid, and waiting for an ambulance may mean death or permanent brain damage due to lack of oxygen.

Over 100 evidence-based, peer-reviewed studies have consistently proven the positive impacts of supervised consumption services, including:

- Successfully managing frequent on-site overdoses and reducing drug-related overdose death rates
- Increasing entry into substance use treatment services
- Reducing the amount and frequency that clients use drugs
- Reducing potentially violent police interaction with people who use drugs
- Reducing public disorder and public injecting while increasing public safety
- Reducing HIV and Hepatitis C transmission by increasing access to sterile drug use supplies
- Saving costs due to a reduction in disease, overdose deaths, and need for emergency medical services
- Increasing the medical and social services system's ability to meet many health crises, including but not limited to overdose response

We the people demand the authorization to create Overdose Prevention Sites in Baltimore, Maryland.