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GMHC Statement on Safe Consumption Sites


Contact: Cub Barrett | 212-367-1561 |





NEW YORK, NY (May 4, 2018)—Gay Men’s Health Crisis (GMHC) today applauded New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio for endorsing the establishment of safe consumptions sites across the city, a potentially groundbreaking initiative that would help New York curb opioid overdoses and prevent new HIV infections. If implemented, these sites could be a game-changer for the city’s overall public health and would be an important part of New York State’s Ending the Epidemic initiative.

  “We strongly support Mayor De Blasio’s plan to open supervised safe consumption sites across New York City—a place in dire need of new ways of combating an opioid epidemic that in 2017 killed more than 1,400 people in the city alone,” said Kelsey Louie, CEO of GMHC, which has long advocated for safe consumption and needle exchange sites. “Evidence continues to demonstrate that harm reduction programs work to both keep drug users alive and link them to care and treatment. And since injection drug use is a key driver of the AIDS epidemic, anything we can do to more effectively promote clean needle use will help us control the spread of HIV.”   Supervised safe consumption sites, which have been implemented in 11 countries around the world, are recognized by public health experts as crucial to stemming the tide of opioid overdoses and new HIV infections. The sites also fit into GMHC’s approach to harm reduction, as the agency believes that more gentle, non-punitive approaches to substance use are also the most effective.   “Safe consumption sites work, and we’re proud that the strong coalition of groups that have appealed to New York City leaders on this issue have been heard,” said Cecilia Gentili, Director of Policy at GMHC. “We’re thankful that Mayor De Blasio has acted on our recommendations. We now urge the New York State Department of Health, as well as key law enforcement officials, to get behind the Mayor’s plan. The sooner we open these sites, the faster we can start saving lives.”




About Gay Men's Health Crisis: Gay Men's Health Crisis (GMHC) is the world's first HIV/AIDS service organization. GMHC is on the front lines providing services to over 12,000 people living with and affected by HIV/AIDS. Programs include: testing, prevention, nutrition, legal, supportive housing, mental health and substance use services. GMHC also advocates for stronger public policies at the local, state and federal levels with the goal of ending AIDS as an epidemic. For more information, visit