Should cities provide safe injection sites for addicts? | The Tylt
Some of the cities hardest hit by the opioid epidemic are considering adding safe injection sites, where addicts can do drugs under medical supervision. Proponents say safe injection sites help save lives by giving people access to clean needles, and immediate medical attention in case they overdose. Critics say safe injection sites enable addiction. Besides, taxpayers shouldn't have to pay for another person's drug habit. What do you think? 💉
Should cities provide safe injection sites for addicts?
Safe injection sites embody the idea of harm reduction. They recognize it's extremely difficult to get people fully clean—many rehab programs have shockingly low recovery rates hovering around 3 percent. Instead, safe injection sites aim to minimize the number of people who die or cause themselves irreparable harm from drug use.
Safe injection sites work by giving addicts a space to prepare and use their drugs. These sites often provide needle exchanges in order to stop the spread of diseases like HIV/AIDS. Medical staff are on hand in case people overdose. And when people are ready for treatment, staff are prepared to direct drug abusers towards treatment programs and services which can help them get clean.
A zero tolerance approach towards drugs doesn't work. More people are dying from overdoses than ever. Safe injection sites face the reality of drug use and proposes real actionable solutions to save lives.
Others think it's morally wrong to enable drug addiction in any form. Drug addiction is something that's fundamentally harmful to someone's health. Acting a if drug addiction is something that should be tolerated means as a society, we're tolerating a person's self destruction. In an ideal world, where taxpayers are willing to put up as much money as possible to help addicts, safe injection sites could work.
But the world we live in is hesitant to put up money to help those who need it most. With only so much money to go around, some think those resources should be put toward programs that lead to recovery, not enabling the status quo. Very few people are able to fully kick their heroin habit, but those who choose to do so should be given every chance possible to make that happen. That means investing in rehab programs with beds and counselors, instead of haphazard programs that enable people to continue using drugs.
Here's how a former addict puts it:
The last thing anyone, including me, looked for when using, was a safe place to shoot up. Supervisor Campos should invest the time and money of San Francisco taxpayers toward rehabilitation centers with beds, counselors, education and support systems. Telling drug addicts it’s all right to use drugs benefits only prisons and funeral homes.