A California lawmaker wants to allow addicts in California to use any and all hard drugs at supervised safe injection sites to help prevent deaths from overdoses and prevent the transmission of HIV and Hepatitis C. This bill from Democratic Assemblywoman Susan Talamantes Eggamn would make it legal for state and local health departments to allow the possession and use of controlled substances in facilities that offer medical intervention.
Debating the Proposal of Safe Injection Sites
Lawmakers introduced the proposal on Tuesday and they received some opposition from law enforcement officials, who believe safe injection sites will encourage drug use and worsen the issue. While some may believe this, research has found that safe injection sites are incredibly effective. Advocates of this reform in drug policy point to the success of North America’s one supervised injection site, located in Vancouver, Canada, which was established 13 years ago and has been proven to help with the drug use problem, by treating it as a public health issue and not a crime.
Canadian Senator Larry Campbell joined Eggman in Sacremento to support her proposal. Campbell is the former mayor of Vancouver and says that their program has reduced the number of fatal drug overdoses in the city and has successfully moved drug use out of public view. “The drug is illegal, but the person who’s using that drug is suffering from a recognized medical disease,” said Campbell. “What it does is simply treat the addiction, keep somebody alive and keep them off the streets.”
Finding a Solution to Addiction Problems
One of Vancouver’s safe injection sites witnessed over 2 million injections and costs $2 million a year to run. In 2003, it even saved the state $1.5 million in health care costs, which resulted from a large decrease in ER visits. Research shows this program did cause a dramatic decrease in overdose deaths in the surrounding areas and didn’t make drug use patterns in the community any worse.
“Addiction is a health care issue, and I think it’s high time we started treating it as a public health issue, versus a criminal issue,” says Eggman. She added, “This bill is one step to be able to address the heroin addiction and epidemic of overdoses that we’re having in our country.”
There were approximately 87 drug use facilities in 58 cities across the world in 2012, according to researchers Marie Nougier of the international Drug Policy Consortium and Eberhand Schatz from the Correlation Network. Several U.S. cities are considering measures identical to this one such as Seattle, New York City and Ithica, New York. Creating these facilities move one step further towards treating addiction as the fatal disease that it is and steers away from focusing on it simply as a criminal matter. This is a major step forward in treating addiction using a harm reduction approach, rather than just locking up the addict population and exiling them from the rest of society, which has proven time and time again to be completely ineffective.
Morningside Recovery Addiction Treatment
While safe injection sites may not become a reality in the U.S., treatment facilities like Morningside Recovery are already running and successful. Morningside Recovery is a pet friendly drug rehab that’s a leader in the fields of addiction and dual diagnosis treatment. We offer various treatment options for patients struggling with addiction and co-occurring disorders.
If you or a loved one are suffering from addiction and need help, please don’t hesitate to call. You can reach us anytime at 855-631-2135. Our treatment specialist will help you find the right treatment option for you and help you get on your way to a new and better way of life in recovery.