New York City Is Funding America’s First Official Safe Injection Site for Drug Users
New York City is giving its blessing to safe consumption sites where intravenous drug users will be able to inject without fear of arrest and with the knowledge that medical professionals will respond in cases of overdose. These sites will be the first publicly funded facilities of their kind to operate in the United States.
Outgoing Mayor Bill de Blasio and the city’s Health Department announced the move this morning. The consumption sites will be found at locations where needle exchange services are already provided by nonprofit groups. Sites in East Harlem and Washington Heights are set to open their doors to users as early as today. They will provide clean needles to users while staff will be on hand to administer naloxone, a drug used to reverse opioid overdoses. Users will have to provide their own illegal drugs.
New York City will not be running the consumption centers. Instead, the two nonprofits who currently run the needle injection programs have joined up to form an organization named OnPoint NYC, which will also run the safe consumption sites. These nonprofits receive city funding.
Safe consumption sites (also called safe injection sites) have been operating in Canada and Australia for years. While New York City will be the first U.S. city to offer these services, San Francisco, Seattle, and Philadelphia also have plans in the works. All of these cities have seen increasing rates of public use of injected drugs such as heroin, as well as high rates of overdoses and overdose deaths. New York City reported more than 2,000 drug overdose deaths in 2020. The United States as a whole has also seen a record number of overd
Article from Reason.com