Officially, the first safe havens for people who use heroin and other drugs have been authorized to open in New York City, hoping to reduce overdoses, reported this Tuesday the mayor and the health commissioner.
For years, “overdose prevention centers,” commonly known as supervised injection sites, have been debated in New York and other American cities that they already exist in Canada, Australia and Europe.
Some unofficial facilities have been operating in the city for some time, which allows drug users to go to a monitored location.
Supporters say the facilities save lives by acknowledging the reality of drug use and providing a space to monitor for signs of overdoseis in users, who last year claimed a record number of lives in the city and the country.
“I am proud to show the cities of this country that after decades of failure, a smarter strategy is possible,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a statement.
However, opponents view the sites as a moral failure that basically authorizes the consumption of derogations. Federal law prohibits operating a narcotics facility.
Last month, the US Supreme Court refused to accept a Philadelphia group’s fight to open a safe injection site, which had been rejected by a divided federal appeals court.
The sites that open in New York this Tuesday include existing syringe exchange programs, reported the municipal health commissioner, Dr. Dave Chokshi.
Such sites often have monitors for signs of overdose and may administer an antidote if necessary. Chokshi hinted that the facilities could also offer people information for rehabilitation treatments and other services and “receiving people from the street, which improves the lives of all those involved.”
Last year, more than 2,060 people died of overdoses in the nation’s most populous city, the most since registration began in 2000. Nationally, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention They estimated there were more than 93,300 overdose deaths in 2020, almost 30% higher than the previous year.