Supervised Injection Sites

Denver City Council Approves Heroin Injection Site(s).

Action is contingent upon Colorado General Assembly approval.



Unless you've been living on another planet, you've heard more and more about the opioid-crisis which has now grown to talk of supervised injection sites in the Denver metro area.

For some of you, opioid tragedies aren't just a news headline - it has deeply affected someone you know, perhaps someone very close to you.

The opioid issue will be one of the most controversial items discussed at the state capitol. The 2019 legislative session convenes Friday, January 4th.

Two sides of the opioid issue and public agency intervention:

Some experienced individuals put it this way, "You already have unsafe injection sites in your town whether that's a local park, alley, or a public bathroom."

Other experienced individuals believe that protected injection or consumption sites welcome expanded opioid-use. One Republican Colorado State Senator who was deeply involved with the study task force remains solidly against the legalized-use of heroin, and especially fentanyl.  While he has many reasons, two top concerns are that users sell the drug to others to support their habit and the injection sites provide immunity from crime.

Denver lays groundwork for Supervised Use Sites (SUS)

Recently, Denver City Council approved a pilot-program for "Supervised Use Sites" (SUS). Denver's pilot-program is contingent upon passage of state legislation and Senator-elect Brittany Pettersen has already initiated drafting a 2019 bill to support SUS. While Denver has decided to title this Supervised Use Site (SUS), these centers may also be called "injection sites." Is it reported that heroin or opiate users generally feel the need to inject the drug 3-5 times per day. Reports on cocaine, methamphetamines, and other stimulants indicate that users inject 12 or more times per day.

denver SUS slide1


City and County of Denver Action Items

Stage 1: Denver City Council Safety, Housing, Education & Homeless Committee Study Session November 7, 2018 (SUS addressed video start - 1 hour 20 minutes)

Stage 2: Denver City Council Ordinance 1st Reading vote 11-1 with Councilman Flynn opposed and Councilman Wayne New absent, November 19, 2018 (#18-1292 discussion starts at 30 minute mark, ends at 1:06)

Stage 3: Denver City Council Ordinance 2nd Reading November 26, 2018 (#18-1292 starts at 16 minute mark

Funding for Injection Site Pilot:

While Denver hopes their project will be privately-funded, it is very likely that public dollars will be spent on Supervised Injection Sites.

Denver's recent approval of SUS is bolstered by the passage of tax increase "Caring for Denver" which is expected to generate $45 million annually. Caring for Denver is a 0.25% sales tax increase effective January 1, 2019. It is unknown how much, if any, of the $45 million will go towards SUS.

Other sources of information:

Vimeo - Nothing Else Has Worked: Safe Injection

Does evidence support supervised injection sites?

Scope of Heroin Use and Fentanyl