Potent Street Drugs and Injection Sites
It would be so much easier if life was black and white. Good and bad. Hot and cold. Clear and vivid sides. However, there is so much gray area in the middle that it bleeds into the opposing sides, blurring the bridge between perceptions of right and wrong choices. Helping an individual addicted to drugs may be one of those gray area moments. New York City sanctioned the set up of injection sites in Manhattan, allowing those addicted to potent street drugs such as heroin to utilize the sites to inject the substance into their bodies with clean needles under professional medical supervision. The staff is present to revive users in case of an overdose.
The legal and ethical concerns are that the city is granting permission for those with a substance use disorder (SUD) to knowingly use illegal drugs within their care. And on the other hand, this process allows those who misuse substances a chance to do so safely in order to minimize overdose deaths and even minimize contracting bloodborne viruses such as HIV or Hepatitis C from dirty needles. The gray area. Is this enabling or keeping those who misuse substances from facing detrimental and irreversible consequences?
After all, the goal of the injection sites is harm reduction. This also opens a door to having a conversation about treatment.
At American Addiction Centers (AAC), we provide medical detox, inpatient and outpatient treatment, and aftercare planning within a supportive environment. And as a nationwide company, we have treatment centers across the country. If you’re struggling with an addiction to heroin or other substances, please reach out for help.
Overdose Deaths, Opioid Epidemic, Injection Sites
Overdose deaths spiked to 2,062 in New York City in 2020. And while it is true that 2020 was an unusually challenging year due to the pandemic, heightened political division, protests, and social unrest, there were nearly 600 fewer overdose deaths (1,497) in 2019 in the same city. Opioids accounted for 85% of overdose deaths in 2020.
But did we not see this coming?
In 2017 alone, “opioid overdose was declared a Nationwide Public Health emergency.”
OnPoint NYC is the non-profit group that is running the two injection sites in Manhattan. The NYC Health Department discovered that the program can potentially save nearly 130 lives per year. That is nearly 130 more people who can seek treatment. That’s 130 more lives a year that can potentially reach long-term sobriety.
When it comes to injection sites, perhaps it’s not a matter of making the decision between what’s considered right and what’s considered wrong. Laws can be amended based upon newly realized information, paradigm shifts, and the current needs of the people. Opening the door to allow an individual struggling with an addiction a chance to live, a chance to fight another day, and perhaps a chance to seek treatment and recover, may be all that matters in the end. But this perception gets lost in the blurry gray area.
If you’re struggling with heroin, opioids, or other substances, you’re not alone. There are resources available to help you achieve long-term sobriety. Please reach out to get the help that you need today.