"As with any service provided to the public, NYC Health Department viewed community engagement and education as critical to the success of OPCs, particularly given the stigma that substance use providers and participants often face. Prior to implementation, the NYC Health Department conducted general educational briefings with local community groups and leaders in neighborhoods across the city, including those where the OPCs would be located. This entailed conducting broad public education and engagement about harm reduction as an effective and life-saving approach to drug use and the overdose crisis while incorporating information about OPCs as an additional proven public health strategy to prevent fatal overdoses. Similar to political engagement strategies, materials used for community engagement further emphasized the strong evidence supporting the impact of OPCs in improving public safety and addressing concerns about syringe litter and public drug use.

"Through our education efforts, including attendance at Community Board and other community group meetings, the city emphasized the value that an OPC could bring to directly address many of these quality-of-life-related concerns, including syringe litter and public drug use. Furthermore, it was beneficial that OPC services were slated to open in existing SSP facilities, which also house wraparound health and social services, avoiding the need to site a new location."


Giglio, R.E., Mantha, S., Harocopos, A. et al. The Nation’s First Publicly Recognized Overdose Prevention Centers: Lessons Learned in New York City. J Urban Health (2023). doi.org/10.1007/s11524-023-00717-y