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New York Investigating Harm Reduction Approach to Heroin Addiction

heroin addictionThere are several aspects to addressing the heroin addiction problem in America. States throughout the country have to balance education, prevention, treatment and crime related to heroin in order to decrease the number of people who are addicted or who will become addicted.

The problem has become so pervasive, that more people are willing to try different approaches as possibilities. Instead of imprisoning heroin addicts, court systems throughout the country have been trying to mandate treatment instead. This change has allowed thousands of addicts to get help and have a happier and more productive life in recovery. Despite this, there are still record numbers of lives being lost or ruined because of the drug.

One of the most controversial solutions proposed for reducing overdose deaths is to provide addicts with a safe place to use their drugs. This method has been employed in other countries with reports of varying levels of success in helping to limit the harm associated with needle-sharing and overdoses.

However, advocates of this practice have had a hard time getting communities to agree to this type of intervention. Some who criticize this method feel that it makes it easy for people to use heroin and that is promotes using the drug rather than abstinence through treatment.

Currently there are no approved safe injection sites in the United States, but it appears that could possibly change. The New York City council has taken all these concerns into account and weighed them against results seen in other countries and have decided to fund a $100,000 study to examine the pros and cons of Supervised Injection Facilities.

“The Council’s new supervised injection impact study will assess the feasibility and impact of New York City having a program that provides a safe, clean haven to high-risk, vulnerable New Yorkers and will help prevent drug overdoses and disease transmissions,” explained Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito.

With so many lives being lost recently, more communities are scrambling to save lives. People who were once very much opposed to harm reduction tactics are now opening up to the idea of mitigating losses as long as all roads eventually point to getting people into treatment and recovery programs. Used properly, harm reduction strategies can act as various forms of interventions.

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