Economic evaluations of establishing opioid overdose prevention centers in 12 North American cities: A systematic review


OBJECTIVES: Overdose prevention centers (OPCs) provide a safe place where people can consume preobtained drugs under supervision so that a life-saving medical response can be provided quickly in the event of an overdose. OPCs are programs that are established in Canada and have recently become legally sanctioned in only a few United States jurisdictions. METHODS: We conducted a systematic review that summarizes and identifies gaps of economic evidence on establishing OPCs in North America to guide future expansion of OPCs. RESULTS: We included 16 final studies that were evaluated with the Consolidated Health Economic Evaluation Reporting Standards and Drummond checklists. Eight studies reported cost-effectiveness results (eg, cost per overdose avoided or cost per quality-adjusted life-year), with 6 also including cost-benefit; 5 reported only cost-benefit results, and 3 cost offsets. Health outcomes primarily included overdose mortality outcomes or HIV/hepatitis C virus infections averted. Most studies used mathematical modeling and projected OPC outcomes using the experience of a single facility in Vancouver, BC. CONCLUSIONS: OPCs were found to be cost-saving or to have favorable cost-effectiveness or cost-benefit ratios across all studies. Future studies should incorporate the experience of OPCs established in various settings and use a greater diversity of modeling designs.


Behrends CN, Leff JA, Lowry W, Li JM, Onuoha EN, Fardone E, Bayoumi AM, McCollister KE, Murphy SM, Schackman BR




  • Epidemiology and Determinants of Health
    • Determinants of Health
  • Determinants of Health
    • Health services
  • Population(s)
    • People who use drugs
    • General HIV- population
  • Prevention, Engagement and Care Cascade
    • Prevention
  • Prevention
    • Drug use behaviours/harm reduction
  • Co-infections
    • Hepatitis B, C
  • Health Systems
    • Financial arrangements


Abstract/Full paper

Email 1 selected articles

Email 1 selected articles

Error! The email wasn't sent. Please try again.

Your email has been sent!