Opioid addiction continues to rise in America, and President Trump is working hard to find a solution. Most of the country agrees that the epidemic needs attention right away. One tactic many countries, including Canada, has implemented is to supervise drug injections to help the user immediately if they have an overdose. Safe injection sites are controversial, but some experts swear that if America allowed them, thousands of lives in this country could be saved.
According to Today, it is vital that Trump’s administration comes up with a plan not only to reduce opioid addiction but a way to save lives from those who abuse drugs. While the goal of handling the opioid crisis should be to get people off drugs and into treatment, experts say that it’s impossible to force someone into treatment that isn’t ready to quit using.
The safe injection sites provide the user with a clean needle, a band-aid, and an alcohol swab to clean the area. One of the most significant risks for those who use heroin (or similar drugs) is sharing dirty needles. The risk of contracting a deadly disease is very high. To combat the threat, experts believe that setting up a safe place to use would decrease the rate of drug users contracting HIV.
How a safe injection site works is the drug user will pick up a clean needle package and go into a bathroom or a tent while a volunteer stands outside in case they need help if they overdose. If required, the volunteer will administer medication that will save their life.
Unlike other countries, in the United States doesn’t allow the volunteers to supervise the users while they use opioids. They have to stand outside a bathroom door or tent. Experts claim that without being able to see the user and really watch them, it is may be impossible to help them.
In Toronto, safe injections sites are no longer illegal. One of the locations, which happens to be downtown, looks like a doctor office. It has an area that the user can “do their thing” while they have staff that watches them for any signs of trouble.
In another location in Toronto, they have a safe injection site located in a park. They use two popup tents which one is for smoking drugs and in the other is using syringes. The location is run by volunteers, some of which are recovering addicts or current users.
The tent site has only been open a few months, and in that short time, they have saved 94 lives. One of the workers said that the crisis has exploded because in recent months, heroin, crack, and crystal meth is being laced with Fentanyl, which is extremely dangerous.
According to City Lab, Fentanyl is a cheap opioid that has taken the opioid epidemic to new heights. The drug is highly addictive and is the number one cause of death in opioid-related overdoses.
The safe injection sites will not address their mental health issues nor any of their medical problems. The purpose is to keep them alive and provide them with resources if they say they want to get help for drug addiction.