As the heroin crisis continues to grow, one of the ideas that is really easy to implement is being pushed to the wayside: safe injection sites.
Safe injection sites are simply a room with a nurse–ready to dispense Narcan if need be. An opioid addict goes there, and brings their own drugs–THE GOVERNMENT DOESN’T SUPPLY THEM HEROIN, YOU STUPID JACKASS–and self-medicates. If an overdose is going to occur it will generally be a short while after they’ve injected, where they go sit down. If they collapse on the floor, rescue begins.
The purpose of a safe injection room is simple: cut down the overdose rate.
“But but but… it’s illegal!!!” Yes, you are correct oh wise one. Drug abuse is illegal. How do safe injection sites fit into that? Simple. The Pennsylvania criminal statute has to be amended to place a legal safe zone around designated safe injection facilities. People taking an opioid in a medical setting is not a crime; and likewise it won’t be inside a safe injection facility.
And no, safe injection clinics aren’t coming to your neighborhood. The only place where they’re really needed in the city badly are in places most of you dear readers don’t live in, and that includes the lower Northeast. We’re talking D and Cambria, where most of your neighbors in the Northeast are going to when they come to Kensington to buy the shit. If your house price is more than $100K you won’t ever be seeing one of these.
The only place where safe injection facilities have been in operation for a while is in Vancouver–a city that’s generally doing a lot better off than Philadelphia is. It’s got a heroin epidemic like we have. The opioid overdose death rate has been slashed thanks to safe injection sites. Out of all the regular users of safe rooms there have been no fatal overdose deaths. The mortality rate is cut among opioid users who use safe injection sites but not routinely. Safe injection facilities also help control the spread of diseases like hepatitis which is common amongst IV drug users.
But I hear ya. You want junkies to die because you hate them. Each time a junkie ODs and is treated by rescue it’s costing taxpayers over $2,000 each visit. It’s also draining Fire Rescue services so badly it’s cutting into response times generally for everyone else–so if your grandma slips and falls down the stairs, she’s gonna be sitting there screaming for a while, perhaps over half an hour, because all the units are out.
But hey–maybe your neighbor’s daughter will finally die from pills, right? What a nice Christian soul you are.