By Sarah Perkes ITHACA, N.Y. (NCC NEWS) — Ithaca, NY may be the first city in the nation to allow heroin addicts to shoot up in front of medical supervision. The rising epidemic calls for new methods of help. In 2015 there were more than 50,000 drug overdoses. Since then the number has increased.
Addiction Specialist and SU Professor Dessa Bergen-Cico said that she thinks the new facilities will have a positive outcome. “When deployed effectively it can be a very very important tool for getting people off the streets, social services, sometimes into treatment and certainly reversing the prevalence of over dosed deaths,” she mentioned.
She has spent the last decade studying drug consumption in Europe, where some of these facilities are already implemented. Since then the number of deaths in those countries have decreased and the amount of people seeking for help has increased. However the U.S. has yet to adopt similar methods of help. Bergen-Cico said she believed it’s because the government is concentrated on the moral aspect. “Our approach and our opinion and our policy has been very driven and based on a moral issue not as a health issue and as an aspect grounded in the criminal justice system and not the health system,” she mentioned.
However, ER Physician and Toxicologist Laura Fil said she is unsure about how would feel about the new drug sites. . “We’re not tryin to promote the use of the drugs; From a safety stand point it might be safer,” she said. “I don’t 100% know how I feel about that because I can see both side of the argument. When people come in and overdose it can lead to permanent dysfunction. So this might help with this while we’re working on a way to fix this epidemic.”
Dr. Fil also said that since there is proof of this method working in other countries to save lies, this can help the U.S. take the next step.