BOSTON – Massachusetts General Hospital will open a mock safe injection site for 3 days on hospital grounds. The 3-day demonstration is within federal law and will help educate the public on what a safe injection site is and the benefits of preventing overdoses in an environment monitored by health professionals. No actual injections will be permitted at this model of what a site could look like.
“We’re willing to demonstrate to the public that this is a safe, hygienic medical intervention,” said Dr. Mark Eisenberg, who will be overseeing the informational display.
The 3-day demonstration will begin on Wednesday at Massachusetts General Hospital, 73 High Street in Charlestown, and is being conducted with the help of the coalition, SIF MA Now. The group is a mixed collection of medical and law enforcement professionals, former addicts and concerned citizens.
The group's aim, as shared by their website, is to implement a "systemic change to Recovery, Prevention, Treatment and Rehabilitation protocol that values and includes harm reduction techniques proven to save lives and reduce complications surrounding active drug use and begin to seriously address possibilities for people with problematic substance use to better their lives."
Speaking with Masslive, Dr. Eisenberg shared that the 3-day demonstration does not violate the Controlled Substances Act, as determined by a federal judge. Eisenberg also points out that no-one has overdosed or died during the mock safe injection site trials. He elaborated on the benefits of actual safe injection sites:
“Rather than the current condition, where they’re injecting in the bathroom of a fast food restaurant or in an alleyway or in a street where they can’t wash their hands, they have don’t have access to clean water, they’re perhaps reusing or re-sharing equipment,” he told Boston.com. “All the things that put people at risk for getting HIV, Hep C, endocarditis — as well, of course, as overdosing.”
Eisenberg, a primary care physician, says he became involved in conducting and advocating for safe injection sites after losing too many of his patients to drug overdoses.
“We acknowledge that some people can’t stop using drugs, and if they’re going to use drugs we want to make it safe as possible,” Eisenberg said.