Across the world there is a real crisis when it comes to opioids at the moment, with over 108,000 overdose deaths crippling the USA alone last year.
Ways to tackle it are continually mooted, and while more people are visiting drug rehab, as well as seeking treatments such as methadone and buprenorphine, still not enough people are getting the help they need, not just to get sober, but also to avoid overdosing during their addiction.
Safe injection sites
Over the last 12 months, a number of safe injection sites have been set up, to much controversy, in order to limit the number of overdose deaths due to opioids, and they are now starting to gain a foothold as the success shown from them filters into mainstream news.
These centres are nonprofit organisations that have seen around 200 sites start operating across a dozen countries, with most recently a site in San Francisco opening its doors.
Elsewhere, they are also proving popular, with two sites operating in New York, with just under two and a half thousand people ultilising those, with the centres seeing approximately 55,000 injections.
Many people against the centres would say that equates to enabling someone’s addiction 55,000 times, but when you counter with the fact that there have been over 700 overdose interventions and no deaths, it’s easy to see that it is also saving lives.
The aim is to roll these out across the country in order to supervise the injection of opioids, in a bid to put a halt to the ever-growing number of deaths due to fentanyl. What’s more, they operate as resource centers for getting help, and it’s believed that more people will then seek treatment as a result of it.
Interestingly, the centers are also helping prevent crime in those areas. It isn’t a simple task opening these at present, and there are a number of hurdles, in particularly the “crack house” statute of federal law, but with the crisis worsening, it seems a matter of time before bills will be passed to ensure more is done to open such centres.
California governor, Gavin Newsom said of the centers, “It is possible that these sites would help improve the safety and health of our urban areas, but if done without a strong plan, they could work against this purpose.”
That is a view shared by many, but with overdose prevention plans in place like this, then it puts the nation on a strong footing to then begin to start looking at taking control of preventing people from taking opioids in the first place.