“In Annapolis, we were told that no one in Maryland or Baltimore would want an Overdose Prevention Site (OPS) on their block – we responded with a resounding ‘YES on my block!’ And we invite you to join us.”
Rajani Gudlavalleti, director of mobilization at Baltimore Harm Reduction Coalition and co-founder of the BRIDGES Coalition for OPS
This July, Baltimore Harm Reduction Coalition and the BRIDGES Coalition transformed the beautiful space at NoMüNoMü, an arts collective in Mt. Vernon, into an overdose prevention site.
Over two days, hundreds of community members including elected officials, emergency responders and advocates had the chance to see what it could look like to have one of these life saving sites on their block.
Just like a real OPS, the installation included guided tours that included:
- A welcoming and confidential registration
- A range of safer use supplies like syringes, and fentanyl test strips.
- Booths that offer a clean prep area and a private area to use safely with trained staff onsite to respond to overdose
- A safe, community space for people who use drugs to rest, access support networks or explore options for recovery
For too long, the War on Drugs has forced people, predominantly Black and brown people, who use drugs to face incarceration, suffer social and emotional isolation, and engage in risky behaviors that put their health and that of others at risk. It’s time to change that.
“The way we have dealt with people who use drugs & looking at them as inherently criminal is wrong. We owe it to ourselves, to our city & to those we’ve lost to overdose. Baltimoreans deserve better. They deserve to live,” said Mayor of Baltimore City, Mayor Brandon Scott at a press conference organized by BRIDGES.
We have 30 years of data proving OPS saves lives:
- 2,777: The predicted number of Marylanders who died from an overdose in 2021–nearly eight people per day, and a 17.18% increase from 2019.
- 150: the current number of OPS operating in 12 countries around the world. Many have been operating for decades.
- 365: the number of lives saved by the United State’s first OPS in New York City since they opened in November 2021
- 35%: the drop in overdose fatalities in an area around a single OPS within a year of opening
- 0: The number of overdose deaths at an OPS over the last three decades
“It is my hope that Baltimore is posed to be the next city to adopt these site. We should not wait a moment longer to implement public health solutions that could save tens of thousands of lives.” Baltimore City Health Commissioner Dr. Letitia Dzirasa stated in support of OPS.
Say “Yes! On my block!”
- WYPR – Preventing overdose, saving lives
- The Baltimore Sun – Advocates show Baltimore what a drug ‘overdose prevention site’ looks like
- Baltimore Fishbowl – ‘Yes On My Block’: Advocates, city officials urge support for overdose prevention sites
- WMAR – Mock overdose prevention site opened today at the Nomu Nomu Art Center