Learning Goal: I’m working on a social science discussion question and need an explanation and answer to help me learn.
Read the information below and answer the questions. Each answer should be at least 6 sentences. Interact with one classmate.
The first authorized Overdose Prevention sites (OPSs) recently opened in New York. The city has asked you to put together a team of researchers and conduct an evaluation of these sites to see if they are meeting their intended public health and safety outcomes. You have had a few meetings with the program directors of OnPoint NYC to understand their program and its goals. Here is what you have learned:
Overdose prevention sites (OPS), also known as supervised injection facilities (SIFs) or safe consumption sites (SCS), are places where people may consume previously obtained drugs in a hygienic, monitored environment without fear of arrest. The goals of OPS are primarily to prevent deaths and reduce harms from drug use (e.g., HIV, hepatitis B and C, and skin infections), as well as provide linkages to treatment and/or other services and reduce public disorder. OPS are located primarily in high drug-use areas and serve marginalized and hard-to-reach populations facing barriers to good health and/or safe living, including people who engage in sex work, people who are experiencing homelessness or housing insecurity, and people with a history of incarceration.
Organizers say the New York sites currently run on private donations, though their parent group gets city and state money for syringe exchange, counseling and many other services offered alongside the consumption rooms. People bring their own drugs — of whatever type — to the consumption rooms, but they’re stocked with syringes, alcohol wipes, straws for snorting and other paraphernalia and, crucially, oxygen and the opioid-overdose-reversing drug naloxone. Staffers, some of whom have used illegal drugs themselves, watch for signals of overconsumption or other needs.
There have been no recorded deaths in supervised injection facilities in countries that permit them, and there’s some evidence linking them to fewer overdose deaths and ambulance calls in their neighborhoods, according to a 2021 report that compiled existing studies. The report, by the Boston-based Institute for Clinical and Economic Review, found no link between safe injection sites and the rates of various crimes, though public drug use dropped off in some places. The community impact of OnPoint’s facilities is not yet known. On the state level, Gov. Kathy Hochul wants to “explore the efficacy” of supervised injection sites and “how it impacts our communities,” said her spokeswoman. The incoming state health commissioner, Dr. Mary Bassett, served as New York City’s health commissioner when the pilot for supervised injection sites was announced in 2018 and has voiced support for the facilities.
While many are supportive of OnPoint and its goals, there is still some community opposition. For example, Eva Chan, a member of Community Board 11, has been bracing for the opening of the injection site and lamented that it would just further cement the neighborhood’s status as a place where drug use and sales are tolerated. “If every district in New York City has one site and it’s not right next to my home, I’m not against it,” Ms. Chan said. “But the root cause of high drug use in East Harlem is the over-concentration of drug treatment facilities, and this does not address that.” Syderia Asberry-Chresfield, a co-founder of the Greater Harlem Coalition, a neighborhood improvement group, has held protests to demand a reduction in the number and density of substance abuse treatment facilities in Harlem. “Not only can I buy my drugs here but I can safely shoot them up in a comfortable atmosphere where people are watching over me?” Ms. Asberry-Chresfield said. “And then they go outside and they wreak havoc in the neighborhood. We can’t live like this.”
Identify the stakeholders for this program and the evaluation project. Who needs to be “at the table”?
Describe the logic of OPSs. What are the inputs, outputs, and desired outcomes? (See attached diagram)
What sort of data might be useful for measuring whether OPSs are achieving their goals? Think creatively – good evaluations often combine multiple approaches to collecting both quantitative (numerical, e.g., counts/statistics, statistical trends) and qualitative (non-numerical, e.g., interviews, focus groups, ethnography/direct observation) data.
What sort of challenges do you think your team may encounter in conducting this evaluation and sharing the results? Try to think of different ethical and political problems you may need to overcome.
Any citation style (APA, MLA, Chicago/Turabian, Harvard)
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