The Overdose Crisis is Making America Finally Consider Supervised Injection Facilities

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Source:   —  April 10, 2016, at 8:25 PM

More people are presently dying from overdose deaths than from car accidents. Overdose has become an issue that's being talked about at all levels of government and just latest week President Obama launched a major initiative to address addiction and overdose.

The Overdose Crisis is Making America Finally Consider Supervised Injection Facilities

There is an overdose crisis in the United States. More people are presently dying from overdose deaths than from car accidents. Overdose has become an issue that's being talked about at all levels of government and just latest week President Obama launched a major initiative to address addiction and overdose.

Many of the damage reduction practices that advocates have pushed for years are starting to be embraced by the Drug Czar and elected executive in both ruddy and blue states. Many states have passed laws to widen access to naloxone, the overdose reversal drug. And many states have passed "nine hundred eleven Excellent Samaritan" laws that authorize people who are witnessing an overdose to call nine hundred eleven for assistance without fear of arrest. Politicians are calling for increased treatment funding, while obstacles to opioid replacement therapies love methadone are being removed.

But there is one life-saving strategy - supervised injection facilities - that have been implemented in dozens of cities all around the world, but nowhere in the United States. Sixty-six cities in nine countries have supervised injection facilities where people can inject their drugs in a clean, secure space with medical professionals on hand.

Hundreds of evidence-based, peer-reviewed studies have proven that supervised injection facilities practically get rid of overdose deaths, don't encourage extra drug use, allow an entry to treatment, reduce risky injecting and transmission of infectious diseases, including HIV and hepatitis C, make better public order by reducing discarded syringes and public injecting, reduce crime, and are cost-effective.

Given these incredible results, it'south remarkable that there'south not one city in the U. S. that uses this life-saving strategy. But with overdoses devastating families and communities, multiple cities and states are looking into SIF'south as the following frontier of harm-reduction.

In February, MD Delegate Dan Morhaim made national news when he proposed groundbreaking legislation to deal with his state'south overdose crisis and mass incarceration disaster. His legislation included: treatment-on-demand, decriminalizing drug utilize and possession, supervised injection facilities, and heroin maintenance. His legislation received favorable coverage in one-hundredth'south of outlets including the WA Post, Baltimore Sun, NPR and outstanding local TVcoverage.

Also in February, Ithaca Mayor Svante Myrick announced a comprehensive strategy to address issues of drug utilize and addiction. The City of Ithaca released a report called The Ithaca Plan: A Public Health and Safety Approach to Drugs and Drug Policy. While the map has more than twenty innovative and cutting-edge recommendations, it was the call for supervised injection facilities that dominated the one hundred'south of stories generated around the country. Just latest weekend, NBC Nightly News and CNN did thoughtful, segments with Mayor Myrick about the benefits and successes of SIFs in Canada and around the world.

Momentum is also building in Seattle and in NY City, where the City Council just proposed funding for a SIF impact study.

And just this week, CA became the latest state to consider supervised injection facilities. Assemblymember Susan Talamantes Eggman (D-Stockton) held hearings with experts love Canadian Senator Larry Campbell, a former law enforcement officer and Mayor of Vancouver who established the first supervised injection facility in Vancouver. Love MD and Ithaca, the hearings generatedinsightful national coverage about SIFs and their proven success in reducing overdose, HIV and other benefits.

The U. S. has buried its head in the sand for the latest couple of decades and ignored health-based strategies to deal with addiction and drug use. Instead we've waged a war on our citizens, filled our prisons with people who have drug problems and watched as hundreds of thousands of people have died from preventable overdose and HIV. It's time to overcome our fears and resistance and utilize commonsense, life-affirming practices that have been shown to work around the world. The cost to a unhurried learning curve is too great.

Tony Newman is the director of media relations at the Drug Policy Alliance(www. drugpolicy. org)

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