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Wow, can’t believe this was actually happening in the US. People can say whatever they want about harm reduction enabling drug use, coddling etc. Isn’t it better to support someone & keep them alive? If they’re alive recovery is possible. There’s no recovery after death. Only grieving family and friends … and a world deprived of whatever the deceased might have contributed had they lived longer.
Great article Zach, u r an excellent article with a ?of gold. I really trust that yur articles are science based not “opoid hysteria” based. It’s just amazing this is now happening, however in my town neighbors had a methadone clinic shutdown because of the communal if people. Keep yur writings coming as we are making progress.
A safe injection site’s purpose is not to end addiction – or even use of – recreational IV opiates. The purpose of such sites is limit the damage done to the general public by IV opiate users. The photo that opens this article shows one of the worst public health dangers of recreational IV drug use. Just cleaning up a mess like that is an incredible risk to public officials – health, police, fire, streets and sanitation workers. And what if a kid runs across a scene like that? At a supervised site, needle are immediately collected and disposed of properly.
One of the interviewees mentioned a reduced number of soft tissue infections. Soft tissue includes everything from skin infected by dirty needles or dirty environments (an injection site is a wound), to collapsed veins to tendon/muscle that gets injected should the needle not be in the vein. If a needle is shared, users can get HIV, HCV, fenatyl-induced necrotizing fasciitis, as well as good old tetanus, botulism, or any other viral infection. The wounds and the infections tend to strike a person a day or two after injection and usually have a violent onset. As most users are uninsured or on Medicare, they rely on tax-supported emergency rooms and hospitals and clinics for treatment.
You could probably run a supervised injection site for $600-750,000 per year. Balance that with savings on ambulance and EMT services, emergency room care, in-patient hospitalizations, costs of treating accidental needle sticks of needles dropped in public or put into the public waste stream. These costs are further extended when users who have been taught to safely inject at a supervised site, inject themselves or others when not supervised. And, since addicts are no longer shooting up in alleys, parks, abandoned buildings, etc., society would also see savings in all areas of criminal justice: less police costs (and safer police jobs), less jail, court and prison costs.
This article and the people interviewed are taking an important step in reducing the harm done by America’s injectable opiod epidemic. They are also going about spreading the good news) of their work in a way that emphases how much money we, as the “non-IV using society” can save by treating addicts and users with compassion and teaching them that – even when using – they can still be responsible members of the larger society.
Zach — you’re going to win an award one day for your writing on the opioid crisis. And you’re going to be able to reflect on science-based changes to public health policy that (all too slowly) helped to turn the tide. Until then, keep typing.
Safe consumption spaces actually do the exact opposite of what you are saying, Don. The Journal of Global Drug Policy and Practice is not a legitimate, peer-reviewed scientific journal. The Lancet and the New England Journal of Medicine, to name but two journals, are legitimate, and both have published articles and editorials in support of them. There are likely hundreds of articles and reports on SCS that show them to be effective for both personal health of people who use drugs and the communities where they live. No one has ever dies of a drug overdose in one of these facilities. Meanwhile, we had over 60,000 OD deaths in the U.S. in 2016.The data on the effectiveness of SCS is pretty unimpeachable. The role that they play in ending the suffering of people who use drugs and their families in preventing death, HIV, HCV and any number of other medical problems is even more compelling. And, while they do all of this, research has shown them to be cost-saving for communities that implemnet them. They are a win-win all around.
SISs are a bad idea. They perpetuate the misery of the addict by giving up on them and expect that there is no help for them except to die an eventual early death. The 100% “positive” studies for SISs are unscientific at best, self-serving at worse. They increase public overdoses, public deaths, public use, needle litter, homelessness, crime.
My arguments against SISs is in the comment section here:
the article that you posted sites no peer-reviewed academic sources. The author of this article included links to peer-reviewed academic resources that support his opinion. I think safe injection sites are good idea and should be implemented sooner rather than later. it will not perpetuate drug use. It will actually erase stigma and open up avenues for potential treatment if the user so desires