Last Friday, Seattle became the first American city to approve a supervised injection facility for intravenous Drug users. Most likely, you’ve never heard of such an idea. After all, there are only eight countries in the world that have conducted such experiments, but the results have been overwhelmingly positive.
First of all, these types of Facilities are a controlled environment. There is nothing about these sites that “promotes” illegal drug use. The purpose is to reduce drug-related crime, provide clean needles to minimize the spread of HIV and hepatitis. In addition, there is professional staff on site who are always looking to provide referrals for rehabilitation services. In other words, this is the compassionate approach to solving drug addiction.
|Photo (Flickr-Todd Huffman)|
Every benefit of safe-injection facilities is also a net-positive for society. This approach has been proven to be more effective with reducing addiction rates and it saves the taxpayers money. For example, the city of San Francisco conducted a study and concluded that this would save their municipality over $3.5 million per year. San Francisco is one of a few other cities that are considering this approach, including New York City and Ithaca, NY.
Most important, these facilities save lives. We’ve seen opioid overdose deaths hit unprecedented levels in recent years. With that in mind, safe-injection facilities are all stocked with the life-saving medication naloxone. This drug is nearly 100% effective with reversing opioid overdoses as long as it is administered within a short period of time after the overdose began occurring. The results speak for themselves. There are approximately 90 safe-injection sites throughout the world and there has never been a single overdose death in one of these facilities. Not one. Albeit, overdoses are fairly common, but none of those have ever lead to a death in a safe-injection facility.
I’ll have much more information in a full-length article that gives more specifics, provides historical context, political background, etc. But, for now, rest assured that this new controversial choice is a victory in the war on drugs.