In a bid to curb the alarming rise of drug overdose-related deaths and reduce the huge number of used needles found littered across the city, San Francisco plans to open several supervised drug injection sites. According to NBC News, the proposed centers will prevent drug overdose deaths, while taking care of the careless dumping of used needles.

The injection sites were proposed by a government task force whose panel drew some of its members from San Francisco's police and health departments. It was tasked with studying the impact of injection sites on drug addicts and the community.

A unanimous recommendation was then passed by the task force outlining the urgent need for the city to open multiple injection sites, spread across San Francisco, despite the move being both controversial and illegal.

The opening of the supervised injection sites

A timeline for the opening of the safe injection sites has already been set, with two centers planned to open their doors in August this year. Several other sites will follow next year. The move is expected to control drug use witnessed in the city, and the dangerous needles often left by users on the city's streets and sidewalks.

Similar centers have been opened in Vancouver, Canada and a tour (which consisted of 30 business and government leaders), was facilitated by the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce in early May.

The trip's goal was to see the impact of such a facility firsthand.

How the facility operates

The first Vancouver safe injection center was opened in 2003 and is made up of a room with open booths for the drug users. New needles are placed in the booths for the users to inject their drugs with, in addition to a safe place to dispose of the used needles once they are done.

In the event of a drug overdose, the trained medical staff come to users' rescue by injecting them with life-saving drugs.

According to Darwin Fisher -- who runs the facility -- the centers have provided a safe and hygienic environment for drug users and stopped the dangerous practice of sharing needles, which is responsible for transmitting deadly diseases such as HIV and Hepatitis.

Fisher added that with frequent visits to the centers, some drug addicts have realized how harmful their habit is, and have sought help in order to turn their lives around -- according to NBC Bay Area.

The plan to open the centers has been opposed by religious leaders.