Drug consumption rooms: A systematic review of evaluation methodologies

Summary information for this document is not currently available.


This abstract is provided here as a convenience only. Check the publisher's website (if available) for the definitive version.


Drug consumptions rooms (DCR) and supervised injecting facilities (SIF) are expanding internationally. Previous reviews have not systematically addressed evaluation methodologies.


Results from systematic searches of scientific databases in English until June 2017 were coded for paper type, country and year of publication. For evaluation papers, study outcome, methodology/study design and main indicators of DCR/SIF ‘exposure’ were recorded.

Key Findings

Two hundred and nineteen eligible peer‐reviewed papers were published since 1999: the majority from Canada (n = 117 papers), Europe (n = 36) and Australia (n = 32). Fifty‐six papers reported evaluation outcomes. Ecological study designs (n = 10) were used to assess the impact on overdose, public nuisance and crime; modelling techniques (n = 6) estimated impact on blood‐borne diseases, overdose deaths and costs. Papers using individual‐level data included four prospective cohorts (n = 28), cross‐sectional surveys (n = 7) and service records (n = 5). Individual‐level data were used to assess safer injecting practice, uptake into health and social services and all the other above outcomes except for impact on crime and costs. Four different indicators of DCR/SIF attendance were used to measure service ‘exposure’.


Research around DCRs/SIFs has used ecological, modelling, cross‐sectional and cohort study designs. Further research could involve systematic inclusion of a control group of people who are eligible but do not access SIFs, validation of self‐reported proportion of injections at SIFs or a stepped‐wedge or a cluster trial comparing localities.


Methodologies appropriate for DCR/SIF evaluation have been established and can be readily replicated from the existing literature. Research on operational aspects, implementation and transferability is also warranted.

Scientific article
1 April 2019
Subscription required
Geographical scope: 
Drug and Alcohol Review
1 April 2019, DOI: 10.1111/dar.12919
Belackova, V, Salmon, A M, Day, C A, Ritter, A, Shanahan, M, Hedrich, D, Kerr, T, Jauncey M
Publisher's DOI: 
Document language: