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A record-high 109,000 Americans died from drug overdoses in 2022. Some of the country’s largest open-air drug markets can be found in Philadelphia’s Kensington neighborhood. The city has a plan to deal with the crisis, but the city council recently passed legislation – over the mayor’s veto – to ban supervised injection sites. In this, Philly is not an outlier. Only New York has allowed the establishment of places where drug users can come off the street and use drugs under the watchful view of medical professionals.

Since evidence of the effects of such sites in the U.S. is scant, a group of researchers from Drexel University and the University of Oslo looked to Europe to evaluate how they affect overdose deaths, community life and even property values.

Also, The Conversation U.S. team has been meeting this week in Boston to see colleagues face-to-face and plan for the year ahead. Since we won’t be editing as many stories as usual, we’ve included a selection from “The Conversation on Guns,” the latest in our Critical Conversations line of books published in collaboration with Johns Hopkins University Press. We also have books on “Gender Diversity”, “Water” and “Biotechnology”, with more on the way.

Emily Costello

Director of Collaborations + Local News

A registered nurse treats Dominic Rodriguez for a skin injury related to xylazine use in Philadelphia in May 2023. Treatment vans are allowed in the city, but not supervised injection sites. Matt Rourke/AP Photo

Philadelphia bans supervised injection sites – evidence suggests keeping drug users on the street could do more harm than good

Jordan Hyatt, Drexel University; Jannet van der Veen, Drexel University; Synøve Nygaard Andersen, University of Oslo; Tony Joakim Ananiassen Sandset, University of Oslo

A group of academics look at the global evidence to examine the potential impact of supervised injection sites in Philadelphia and the US.

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