Debunking the myth: Overdose prevention centers do not lead to higher crime ratesNovember 14, 2023
Overdose prevention centers like OnPoint in northern Manhattan have proven to be 100% effective at preventing fatal overdoses. However, concerns about potential increases in criminal activity and decreases in quality of life have been valid within the community. To address these concerns, a report published in the JAMA Network analyzed public safety data points around the centers and a control group of syringe service programs without supervised injection components.
The report found that the centers’ operation did not increase reports of crime, decreased drug enforcement, and did not significantly decrease quality of life aside from an increase in 311 calls about drug activity. These additional 311 calls are likely due to the localized nature of the facilities, which concentrate drug users in one area, making drug use more visible.
The report also revealed that emergency medical calls for the consequences of drug use decreased by more than 50% around the overdose prevention centers, demonstrating the life-saving impact of these facilities. Additionally, the centers provide staff and services to help individuals break their dependence on drugs altogether, further contributing to positive outcomes.
It is important to recognize that overdose prevention centers do not create a demand for drug use. Instead, they provide a safe environment to prevent fatal outcomes and offer support for individuals seeking treatment. Despite their proven success, these centers continue to face political challenges, with funding being denied by Gov. Hochul despite recommendations from experts. It is crucial to consider the data and support the expansion of overdose prevention centers.