NY State Assembly explores safe injection sites
Safe injection sites have been adopted in Canada and Europe, but have yet to gain traction in the US. Now, however, that trend might be changing as a growing number of cities and states are ready to take dramatic steps in the fight against the opioid crisis.
As reported in the Times Union, assembly woman Linda Rosenthal (D- Manhattan), has proposed legislation to authorize safe sites in New York State. As Rosenthal points out, the lack of safe injection sites often forces addicts into using various public spaces to shoot up, many times resulting in overdoses in restrooms, parks and libraries.
On the other hand, safe injection sites provide a regulated environment for addicts to use. No one has ever died in a safer consumption site.
The first safer consumption site was established in 1986 in Berne, Switzerland. Since then they have been opened in nearly 100 cities worldwide. As a result, hundreds of thousands of lives have been saved — in other countries.
Safer consumption sites provide people struggling with addiction a safe space to use pre-obtained drugs. In addition to a sterile environment, clean syringes reduce HIV and hepatitis C transmission. Onsite medical staff is trained to reverse overdoses.
People entering a safer consumption site can be connected with treatment, counseling, housing, job training and other lifesaving services. On the street, a person struggling with substance use disorder is very unlikely to encounter comprehensive treatment and recovery services unless they’re looking for it.
Research has shown that crime rates and public drug use decrease in neighborhoods near safer consumption sites.
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To read more about legislation for safe injections sites in New York State, please visit the Times Union.com.