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NYC Allows First Overdose Prevention Center: NPR

Narcotic users are preparing to inject heroin in a VANDU supervised injection room in Vancouver, Canada. Sites similar to those implemented in New York have proven successful in Canada.

NPR’s Rafal Gerszak


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NPR’s Rafal Gerszak

Narcotic users are preparing to inject heroin in a VANDU supervised injection room in Vancouver, Canada. Sites similar to those implemented in New York have proven successful in Canada.

NPR’s Rafal Gerszak

New York City officials say the country’s first government-approved monitored drug injection site began servicing addicts on Tuesday.

With the support of Mayor Bill de Blasio, this program is part of the city’s “harm reduction” strategy aimed at reducing the death toll from unprecedented overdose.

“After a thorough investigation, we know the right path to protect the most vulnerable people in our city,” De Blasio said in a statement on Tuesday. “The Overdose Prevention Center is a safe and effective way to deal with the opioid crisis.”

According to city officials More than 2,000 people in New York City died in 2020 from fatal overdose.. Safe drug consumption sites operate on sites that also offer clean needles and other services.

A feasibility study conducted by the NYC Health Department found that this program could save “up to 130 lives a year.”

The center in Manhattan will be run by a new non-profit group called OnPoint NYC, formed by two organizations focused on harm reduction.

“Being the first OPC site in the United States is an honor and an incredible step forward in ending the opioid crisis,” said the group. Posted on Twitter on Tuesday morning..

People with substance use disorders can inject heroin and other illicit drugs under the care of a medical professional. It also provides access to addiction treatment and other health care.

Similar sites in Australia and Canada Proved to be successful Prevent overdose, reduce substance use in public places, promote safer injection practices to reduce the spread of diseases such as HIV / AIDS and hepatitis.

Supervised injection sites have been proposed in cities such as Denver, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Seattle. However, the policies and legal challenges of the war on drugs have long delayed the creation of safe drug consumption programs in the United States.

In January, a federal judge’s committee blocked Creation of a supervised injection facility proposed in Philadelphia. “”[T]The opioid crisis may require an innovative solution …[but] Regional innovation may not violate federal law. “

In the months following that ruling, deaths from drug overdose have continued to skyrocket nationwide, with more than 100,000 Americans for the first time in 12 months. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention..

Earlier this month, the Biden administration refused to support safe drug use as a strategy to reduce fatal overdose.

During a press conference Earlier in the month, Dr. Raffle Gupta of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy said the matter would be decided by the court.

“We can’t specifically address this around overdose prevention sites, mainly due to ongoing proceedings,” he said.

It is unclear whether New York City’s safe injection program will face opposition and legal challenges. De Blasio acknowledges the possibility of a federal crackdown.

In April, he and the other mayors will send a letter to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland to issue a statement on behalf of the Department of Justice stating that enforcement of federal law on supervised injection facilities is not a priority. I asked.

He had never received that guarantee, but De Blasio said last month that he was optimistic that the center would be allowed to remain open. Keep their doors open.

“We have a new government in Washington and a new government in Albany,” De Blasio said on October 26. “It was a good time to do something on this topic, while we could finally get the kind of potential cooperation we needed.”

Since announcing support for the project in 2018, the De Blasio administration has also Cooperation with NYPD The district attorney ensures that the site can operate without the intervention of local law enforcement agencies.

A spokesperson for Manhattan and Brooklyn DA confirmed with WNYC / Gothamist support for an overdose prevention center. WNYC / Gothamist did not receive a response from Bronx DA Darsel Clark, who had previously spoken to the facility.

“The government should not be involved in taking on that kind of responsibility,” he said. Clark said The NYPD also did not respond to the request for comment.

New York Governor Kathy Hokul continues to hedge this issue.

“Governor Hokuru is deeply and personally involved in the fight against the opioid epidemic and has all the options to save lives,” a spokesman for the Governor’s Office told WNYC / Gotamist.

Mayor-elect Eric Adams, who will take office in January, revealed that. He supports Overdose prevention center.

WNYC / Gotamist Caroline Lewis Contributed to this report.



NYC Allows First Overdose Prevention Center: NPR

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