There are no “safe heroin injection sites.” The only “safe” approach to heroin is to not take it. For addicts, the humane public health response is to help them get and stay sober, or at the very least, opioid replacement therapy in sustained treatment. Any approach without these goals is cruel and dehumanizing- not healing, but perpetuating harm. (Walter 2)
Drug abuse has always been a delicate subject as it deals with the health, safety, and the well-being of not only the users, but also everyone they come into contact with. Cities across Canada are faced with a rising number of drug abusers, and therefore increased cases of infectious diseases and overdoses by these users. Vancouver housed the first injection site in Canada; its purpose to offer sterile syringes as well as other equipment to addicts, medical care in the event of an overdose or other emergency, as well as counseling and referrals to drug rehabilitation programs. This was a great step towards ensuring the safety and security of the public; drug users are given access to safe, one-use syringes and are provided with clean environment,
Safe injection sites are a controversial issue in Canada, and have been for a long time. As society grows more and more comfortable with the idea of legalizing certain drugs, the attitude towards these safe injection sites changes. This change affects laws, politics, and society in general and is a legal and moral issue. Insite, the first safe injection site in North America, opened in 2003 in Vancouver, British Columbia to a mass of controversy that induced legislative, legal, and moral change worthy of observation and investigation. This paper will first introduce the concept of safe injection sites as well as an explanation of the harm principle in which these sites operate under, then introduce Insite, the first safe injection site opened in North America, along with appropriate statistical evidence that proves its effectiveness, followed by the issues brought up by opponents of these sites will be discussed as well as the landmark Supreme Court case that allowed for their continued existence, and finally an overview of the current legislation that threatens it.
Safe injection sites will not be helpful towards the opioid crisis. If the United States give people a place “to safely shoot up” (Mendell), they will end up just using the drugs outside of the center, at their drug dealer’s houses. Many humans will not admit that they have a problem or need help, they are afraid of judgement of others more than they are of their problem. The opioid users would “delay gratification until
There are many ways in which people who are addicted to intravenous drugs are perceived by our society. People sometimes believe the addicted person is to blame for their circumstance and substance dependence and some feel serious drug addicts are a “lost cause” due to a lack of values or flawed character. “Persons who struggle with addictions often are depicted as criminals or prostitutes, weak, lazy and morally corrupt” (Bartlett, R., Brown, L., Shattell, M., Wright, T., Lewallen, L. (2013). These stereotypes paint people with addiction negatively; a percentage of people who live with serious addiction are capable of recovery with the right attitude, support and healthcare. Street level healthcare services such as; safe injection sites, provide accessable resources at street level for people to make the choice to live healthier lifestyles. Govement funding and support is needed to make these projects possible to improve the health of Canadians. Safe injection sites are proven to be positive contributions to communities, save lives, reduce harm and open doors towards recovery for people from the grip of addiction.
The rate of death due to prescription drug abuse in the U.S. has escalated 313 percent over the past decade. According to the Congressional Quarterly Transcription’s article "Rep. Joe Pitt Holds a Hearing on Prescription Drug Abuse," opioid prescription drugs were involved in 16,650 overdose-caused deaths in 2010, accounting for more deaths than from overdoses of heroin and cocaine. Prescribed drugs or painkillers sometimes "condemn a patient to lifelong addiction," according to Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This problem not only affects the lives of those who overdose but it affects the communities as well due to the convenience of being able to find these items in drug stores and such.
This case study is based on results obtained from the public injecting site in the urban location of Sydney’s Kings Cross between 1998 and 2010. In exposing and analysing the history behind the initiative of the NSW Governments harm minimisation program of ‘Medically Supervised Injecting Centres’ (MSIC). This paper offers a snapshot into the public policy and responses associated with public injecting and metanarrative directions of the program management and evaluation methods that were applied to how this program unfolded.
Results of safe injection site studies have shown that an expansion may have a greater impact. This may reduce the chance of dangerous encounters between users of these safe injection sites and the public. Children not even out of elementary school, were getting involved in the drug scene. These runaways were a concern to the residents, who witnessed overdoses in the past decade. Over 2,000 lives were lost due to the Downtowns East side’s “drug-fuelled spiral” (MacQueen et al., 2003). Persisting the safe injection site can help in lowering risk behaviors by the drug users of SIS’s and community concerns that are related to public injection of drugs (McKnight et al,. 2007). Overall, SIS’s may have the ability to change the drug users and transform them into potential productive members of society.
As the number of intravenous drug users continues to rise, so does the risk of dangerous and potentially fatal complications that are associated with illicit drug use. In this population, death rates are higher due to overdose, AIDs-related mortality, and other blood-borne viruses (Mathers et al., 2013). Mortality rates remain high even though precautions have been taken to reduce them. According to Lavender & McCarron (2013), “Mortality in injecting drug users is up to 22 times higher than for the age-adjusted population, despite increased provision of needle and syringe programs, reduced needle and syringe sharing, and higher uptake of hepatitis B vaccination” (p. 511).
There is no question that the alarming rate of deaths related to opioid overdose needs to be addressed in this county, but the way to solve the problem seems to remain a trial and error approach at this point. A patient is injured, undergoes surgery, experiences normal wear and tear on a hip, knee or back and has to live with that pain for the rest of their life or take a narcotic pain medication in order to improve their quality of life and at least be able to move. The above patients are what narcotic pain medications were created for, a population of people that use narcotic pain medications for fun is what is creating a problem. Narcotics are addictive to both populations, however taking the narcotic for euphoric reasons is not the intention of the prescription that the physician is writing. The healthcare system needs to find a way to continue to provide patients that experience chronic pain with the narcotics that work for them while attempting to ensure the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) doesn’t have to worry about a flood of pain pills hitting the streets by granting access to the population with a substance abuse problem.
Several studies have shown that injection drug users lower their risk of transmitting infectious diseases when there is a needle exchange program available. There has not been a valid study of whether or not the amounts of time needles are returned to the exchange programs are harmful to communities. The Journal of Public Health, conducted surveys, evidence from needle exchange sites, jails, and institutions that needle exchange programs are effective in reducing illnesses such as HIV and AIDS (Burt & Theide, 2016). Furthermore, Reepalu, Blome, Bjork, Widell, & Bjorkman (2012), researched the same individuals for 20 years, with no breaks. Their studies concluded that injection drug use, not only heightens the risk for HIV and AID’s, there is also an increase in Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C. However, there studies showed that there is not an increase rate of cancer diagnoses due to injection drug use. In a study conducted by Bonar and Rosenberg (2014), they wanted to see if self-initiated harm strategies, such as: proper needle sterilization techniques, proper disposal of needles, and cleaning of the pre injected skin, could help improve the health of those that use drugs intravenously. Their study was conducted over an eight-month period, results showed that their
The idea behind the creation of safe injection sites is that society can’t cure or get rid of the drug problem. While harm reduction may work for those not effected directly with the damages of drug use, it encourages out of sight, out of mind compartmentalization of people who unconsciously don’t want to help the addict. This results in the addict staying in his addiction. It seems to me that such an approach is much like facilitating drug use, which is illogical. The fact is we can’t stop rape either but we don’t resort to lowering the consequences and give ways to do it. There is a concern that the users sharing straws to snort cocaine will spread Hep “C”. So, should we also create a straw exchange program? There will always be something that will cause harm with drug use.
The United States of America has had a war against drugs since the 37th president, Richard Nixon, declared more crimination on drug abuse in June 1971. From mid-1990s to today, a crisis challenges the health department and government on opioid regulation, as millions of Americans die due overdoses of painkillers. Opioids are substances used as painkillers, and they range from prescription medications to the illegal drug, heroin. Abusing these substances can cause a dependency or addiction, which can lead to overdoses, physical damages, emotional trauma, and death. To ease the crisis, physicians are asked to depend on alternatives to pain management. Law enforcement cracks down on profiting drug-dealers and heroin abusers. People are warned against misusing opioids. The controversy begins for those who suffer from chronic pain, because they depend on opioids. There’s so a correlation to the 1980s cocaine epidemic, and people are upset over racial discrimination. Nonetheless, the best way to avoid this crisis is to recover the people at risk, reduce inappropriate opioid description, and have a proper response.
Harm reduction can be defined as an approach that aims to reduce the consequences of high risk behaviours such as injection drug use on the individual and on society as a whole. Harm reduction programs provide injection drug users with access to a clean injection environment, sterile injections, drug-preparation equipment and safe disposal of contaminated material at the time of injection. Staff members in harm reduction facilities provide health teaching, anonymous HIV testing, information on addiction treatment, condoms and assist in connecting clients to social and health services (Semaan et al., 2011; Ball, 2007). Although, the benefits of harm reduction are evident through reduction of accidental drug overdose and prevention of
Drug use in America is one of the major issues we face and the problem has skyrocketed over the past three decades. Heroin and painkiller addictions exceed all other countries. It is important that we address some of the causes that lead to the abuse, how to treat the abuse, and how to prevent the distribution of illegal prescription drugs.