The City just provided an important update on our continued work to reduce opioid abuse in our city.

Philadelphia will encourage organizations to develop Comprehensive User Engagement Sites (CUES). CUES will help people experiencing a substance abuse disorder related to opioids.

What are CUES?

CUES are medical interventions in which essential services are provided to reduce substance use, the harms associated with substance use, and fatal overdose.

These locations are similar to safe injection sites but they also would offer a wide range of other important services to meaningfully assist those struggling with addiction.

This includes referrals to treatment and social services, wound care, medically supervised drug consumption, and access to sterile injection equipment and naloxone. All of which are provided in a walk-in setting.

The benefit of CUES

City officials released a scientific review of studies of supervised injection facilities, which showed that these facilities reduce deaths from drug overdose; prevent HIV, hepatitis C, and other infections; and help drug users get into treatment.

The review also estimates that one site in Philadelphia could prevent up to 76 deaths from drug overdose each year.

Next steps

Moving forward, the City will actively encourage organizations like community nonprofits or medical organizations to operate and fund one or more CUES.

While the City will not operate a CUES, agencies and officials will bring together key stakeholders and identify organizations that are interested in operating, funding, or offering a location for such a facility.

“Philadelphia’s fatal overdose rate is the worst in the nation among large cities, and incidents of overdose have steadily increased to an alarming degree,” said Mayor Jim Kenney about the decision. “I applaud the work of the Task Force and city leadership in taking this bold action to help save lives.”

CUES are the latest part of a much broader strategy to address this public health crisis. The Mayor’s Task Force to Combat the Opioid Epidemic is informing the City’s efforts to reduce opioid abuse, dependence, and overdose in Philadelphia.