U.S. Will Fund Study of Safe Injection Sites Despite Pushback

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May 17, 2023 – Jose Martinez spent respective years unhoused, jobless, and trapped successful a rhythm of addiction to synthetic marijuana – a lab-created supplier that affected his mind and behaviour and is vulnerable and sometimes deadly.

His life changed erstwhile nan Bronx, NY, resident began betterment successful 2017, which he credits successful ample portion to what is now an overdose prevention tract successful New York City’s Harlem vicinity – 1 of 2 charismatic alleged safe injection sites successful nan United States, wherever group tin usage illicit narcotics nether supervision of trained unit to forestall decease and illness. 

The different is successful nan city’s Washington Heights neighborhood. At nan time, some locations were needle exchanges, which merged and added supervised injection to create OnPoint NYC successful 2021.

Though Martinez did not inject drugs, he took advantage of nan different resources there, including laundry accommodation and showers.

“People tin entree safer supplies, but besides intelligence wellness services, and I utilized those,” said Martinez, 35. “Before that, I tried rehab and detox, and they didn’t activity for me. The [site] helped maine get location erstwhile I was ready.” 

He added, “We were a community, for illustration a family.”

The national authorities will, for nan first time, bankroll a study of really good overdose prevention sites work, according to an announcement connected May 8.

A assistance of much than $5 cardinal complete 4 years will spell to New York University and Brown University successful Providence, RI, to study 1,000 group astatine New York’s 2 sites, on pinch 1 group to unfastened successful Providence adjacent year.  

The announcement comes arsenic deadly overdoses proceed to declare lives crossed nan country. There were much than 106,000 overdose deaths successful 2021.

The attack is controversial, pinch critics claiming it enables forbidden supplier usage and brings crime into surrounding areas. But overdose prevention sites already operate successful 14 countries, including Canada. There are efforts to unfastened these accommodation successful Colorado, New Mexico, and Nevada.

For and Against

Opponents see nan International Association of Chiefs of Police, Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro (D), and erstwhile U.S. lawyer for Colorado Jason Dunn. Some reason that giving nan greenish ray to a study of illicit supplier use breaks nan law

“If nan Biden management wants to money a study of forbidden activity, it should beryllium honorable astir it and inquire Congress to alteration nan law,” said Paul Larkin, a elder ineligible investigation chap astatine blimpish deliberation vessel The Heritage Foundation.

Though location has ne'er been a large-scale study of supervised injection successful nan U.S., different countries person examined really good it works. A 2021 study retired of Canada recovered a 26% alteration successful overdose deaths surrounding a supervised injection tract successful Vancouver, compared pinch nan remainder of nan city.

Proponents besides opportunity having designated spaces for group struggling pinch addiction cuts down connected nationalist supplier usage and litter for illustration utilized needles. 

It tin besides beryllium a touchpoint for group who are fresh to participate recovery, said Miriam Komaromy, MD, aesculapian head for nan Grayken Center for Addiction astatine Boston Medical Center.

“Preventing deaths is not nan aforesaid point arsenic treatment; nary 1 thinks it's nan aforesaid thing,” she said. “It builds spot pinch group often alienated from nine because of stigma. If you tin build trust, that's nan span to getting personification treatment.”

Martinez – who now has recovered activity doing thoroughfare outreach for nan National Harm Reduction Association defense organization – said he sees group debar deadly overdoses and infectious diseases for illustration hepatitis, HIV, and AIDS because of nan cleanable supplies and trained unit astatine supervised injection sites. 

“Everybody deserves a chance and an opportunity,” he said. “It's not up to different group to dictate what that looks like.”

Source Health