This project was led by Rhode Island Department of Health in collaboration with PPHC, the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review, and the University of Washington Comparative Health Outcomes, Policy, and Economics Institute.
Laura C. Chambers, Benjamin D. Hallowell, Xiao Zang, David M. Rind, Greg F. Guzauskas, Ryan N. Hansen, Nathaniel Fuchs, Rachel P. Scagos, Brandon D.L. Marshall. The estimated costs and benefits of a hypothetical supervised consumption site in Providence, Rhode Island. International Journal of Drug Policy, Volume 108, 2022.
Background: Overdose deaths have increased dramatically in the United States, including in Rhode Island. In July 2021, the Rhode Island government passed legislation supporting a two-year pilot program authorizing supervised consumption sites (SCSs) in response to this crisis. A SCS is a community-based facility where people may consume drugs with professional supervision to prevent fatal overdose and other drug-related harms. Facilities also provide resources and referrals to other health and social services, including addiction treatment. SCS are also known as harm reduction centers or overdose prevention sites.
Objective: To estimate the costs and health benefits of opening a hypothetical SCS in Providence, Rhode Island.
Method: We utilized a mathematical model to compare costs and overdose-related health outcomes for people who inject drugs under two scenarios: (1) Providence has a hypothetical SCS that includes syringe services provision, and (2) Providence has a syringe service program only (i.e., the status quo). We assumed that 0.95% of injections result in an overdose, the SCS would serve 400 clients monthly and have a net cost of $783,899 annually, 46% of overdoses occurring outside of the SCS result in an ambulance run and 43% result in an emergency department visit, 0.79% of overdoses occurring within the SCS would result in an ambulance run and an emergency department visit, and the SCS would lead to a 26% reduction in fatal overdoses within 0.25 miles of the facility.