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Supervised Injection Facilities

Drug Science thumbnail about supervised injection facility

Supervised Injection Facilities (SIFs) are known by many names including Safe Injection Facilities, Overdose Prevention Centres, and Drug Consumption Rooms. There are subtle nuances between these amenities, but they all function to provide safe spaces for people to consume controlled drugs under the supervision of trained professionals who can save lives if overdoses occur.

Drug-related deaths in the UK have risen significantly over the past 10 years, with a steep increase in preventable overdoses. Supervised Injection Facilities are a viable harm reduction strategy with great potential to alleviate this public health issue.

This module explains everything you need to know about Supervised Injection Facilities.

Supervised Injection Facilities

In this module you will learn what a Supervised Injection Facility is and how they operate, as well as the locations of Supervised Injection Facilities around the world.

We'll explain the history and current developments of Supervised Injection Facilities in  the UK, and worldwide, before diving deep into the evidence and arguments for and against Supervised Injection Facilities. 

Using real-world case studies, you'll learn how Supervised Injection Facilities perform as a harm reduction strategy, including the potential risks.

Lastly, we explain the laws which affect Supervised Injection Facilities in the UK, and how to set up a Supervised Injection Facility within a legal grey area.

About this module

The Society for the Study of Addiction (SSA) is very happy to have worked with Drug Science in 2020 and 2021 to develop and update this slide series for use in medical education. Medical practitioners are often the first people to come into contact with people who use substances, and it is vital that those practitioners are able to provide a positive response and to deliver evidence-based interventions from that first moment and all the way through to the end of that person’s care.

These slides are primarily for use in medical education settings but have been carefully designed to ensure that they are accessible for a wide range of people. They will therefore provide a rapid overview for medical students and other healthcare professionals. They are free to use; the aim of both organisations is to optimise dissemination of research into practice, so if these slides are of use to you, please use them. If you have any queries, please contact Drug Science or SSA through their websites and we will be glad to answer your questions.

The project has used the extensive knowledge and expertise of Drug Science and the SSA to develop these up-to-date, evidence based and accessible resources. We hope you enjoy them.

The SSA’s aim is to broaden and promote the scientific understanding of addiction. We particularly aim to advocate for the use of research evidence in policy and practice.

The SSA was founded in 1884 as the ‘Society for the Study and Cure of Inebriety’ and is the oldest organisation of its type in the UK. The SSA disseminates research through the journals Addiction and Addiction Biology, through its Annual Conference, through its website ( and social media, and by supporting third-party projects and conferences. The society funds PhDs, academic fellowships, travelling fellowships, post-doctoral studies, and offers bursaries to improve access to training and education in addiction.

The Supervised Injection Facility Working Group is a consortium of scientific experts, academics, policy makers, treatment providers and advocacy groups, co-operating to reduce the harms of intravenous drug use.

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