Legal Injection Site Nycgeorge
Janno Lieber, president and CEO of the MTA, said in March that drug use at the 181st Street station was „a serious problem,“ citing what he called „a new supervised injection site nearby.“ She also recently sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland, urging the Justice Department to take action against the two New York centers — after de Blasio and other mayors wrote to Garland earlier this year asking him to issue a statement saying law enforcement against these sites was not a priority. New York City is the first city in the United States to open legally authorized supervised injection sites for drug users as the country grapples with a record number of overdose deaths. Since announcing its support for the project in 2018, Blasio`s administration has also worked with the NYPD and county prosecutors to ensure the sites can operate without interference from local municipal law enforcement. Supervised drug consumption sites date back decades in Europe, Australia and Canada. Several U.S. cities and the state of Rhode Island approved the concept, but no licensed sites were in operation until New York opened in November (researchers documented an underground site at an unknown U.S. site for several years). New York`s announcement came six weeks after the U.S.
Supreme Court allowed a lower court ruling that a proposed location in Philadelphia was illegal under a 1986 federal law against the exploitation of a place of illicit drug use. With all the services offered and the overdoses it has reversed, OnPoint is also reaching its limits. During a 10-day period in February, two regulars died and a third remained in a coma for some time after overdoses elsewhere when sites closed at night, according to the program`s senior director, Kailin See, who believes longer hours saved the deceased (the third person recovered). Supervised injection sites have been suggested in cities such as Denver, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Seattle. But war on drugs policies and legal challenges have long delayed the creation of safe drug use programs in the United States. „I just got a text from a group in San Francisco showing me pictures of their setup and how they`re preparing for it,“ Rivera said in an interview at his Harlem office Wednesday. „I talk on the phone every day, even on Saturdays and Sundays, and someone somewhere in the country says, `We`re next,` and I encourage them.“ Staff, some of whom have used illicit drugs themselves, look for signs of overuse or other needs, ranging from advice on injection technique to more complicated help. The Cole Memorandum states that people can operate weed businesses in legal states and avoid federal law enforcement as long as they comply with local and state laws. „We are in a moment of judgment,“ Moore told VICE News.
„It`s the anniversary of (President Richard) Nixon`s declaration of war on drugs, and we`re seeing the highest overdose rates ever recorded in this country, requiring more people than homicides, suicides and car accidents combined.“ In April, he and other mayors sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland, asking him to issue a statement on behalf of the Justice Department saying federal law enforcement against supervised injection sites was not a priority. But visitors also see it as a safe space. Ronnie, a homeless customer at the Harlem Overdose Prevention Center, said that before the site opens, he would inject his favorite mix of cocaine and heroin — anywhere, anywhere. According to Vancouver Coastal Health, the local health authority, more than 3.6 million supervised injection visits took place at Insite between 2003 and 2019. No one died and there were 6,440 overdose interventions. He proposed withdrawing federal funds from any private, state, or local government group that „operates or controls“ a supervised injection site. Similar sites in Australia and Canada have been shown to be effective in preventing overdoses, reducing drug use in public places, and promoting safer injection practices that reduce the spread of diseases such as HIV/AIDS and hepatitis. Officials report that 585 people registered on the sites and used them 4,974 times. According to the New York Times, de Blasio said operators in the city would not shut down law enforcement.
He proposed withdrawing federal funds from any private, state, or local government group that „operates or controls“ a supervised injection site. (Their efforts sparked a protest in Lower Manhattan on Wednesday by VOCAL-NY, a social services group interested in opening a mainstream station.) CPOs, also known as supervised injection sites or supervised drug use sites, are safe places where people who use drugs can get clean needles, medical care and access to social services, as well as addiction treatment, the city said at the time. In the upstairs office at the Harlem site, employees placed a small Christmas tree on a stack of boxes of syringes, hoses, stoves, bags of drugs, gauze and other used hazardous waste collected during the first two weeks of operation of the centers. Both sites have a long history of providing clean needles, harm reduction counselling, HIV testing and other services to people who use drugs. Only out of 30. They received the green light from Mayor Bill de Blasio to openly allow supervised drug use locally. The main goal of the new centers is to save lives by having someone on site to intervene in case of overdose with a variety of treatments. On the harm reduction educators` overdose prevention page from New York City to Harlem, guests can also get acupuncture, Reiki, and other wellness services in the holistic room upstairs.
New York City officials said the nation`s first government-approved supervised drug injection sites began offering services to people with addictions Tuesday. „Being OPC`s No. 1 site in the U.S. is an incredible honor and step forward in ending the opioid crisis,“ the group said in a tweet Tuesday morning. Melissa Moore, director of civilian systems reform at the Drug Policy Alliance, said there could be a parallel between supervised injection sites and states that have legalized cannabis. The opening of supervised injection sites in the U.S. is a significant boon for harm reduction advocates who have long called for an evidence-based approach to addressing the overdose crisis. Recently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that for the first time, more than 100,000 Americans died from drug overdoses over a 12-month period, largely due to the flooding of synthetic opioids such as fentanyl into the illicit drug supply. The record was reached in the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, which exacerbated the overdose crisis by cutting off the supply of medications, increasing stress, and cutting people off from harm reduction services and from each other. Dr. Ryan Marino, medical director of toxicology and addiction medicine at University Hospitals Cleveland, said there are a number of ways supervised injection sites save lives.
But surveillance is the most critical element, as on-site staff can administer naloxone – an antidote to opioid overdoses. Another New Yorker in Congress, the Democratic representative. Carolyn Maloney is one of the main sponsors of an addiction treatment proposal that could provide money for such facilities. Organizers say the New York sites are currently run by private donations, though their parent group receives funding from the city and state for needle exchange, counseling, and many other services offered alongside drug consumption rooms. According to See, part of the purpose of opening two sites is to implement slightly different models at each site and work with researchers to assess how they compare. „The goal here is essentially to hand over a master plan to the rest of the country to support the emergence of these sites in other jurisdictions,“ she said. In the first three months, sites in the East Harlem and Washington Heights neighborhoods of Upper Manhattan stopped more than 150 overdoses during about 9,500 visits — many of them repeated visits of about 800 people in total. The locations plan to expand the service day and night before the end of this year. A sign in the room where people use drugs at the OnPoint NYC Overdose Prevention Center in Harlem reads, „This page saves lives“ in English and Spanish.
Since it opened, many neighbors in Washington Heights and East Harlem have spoken out against the locations. Residents say they have seen negative impacts in communities that are already struggling with street drug use. After years of filming on the streets and rooftops, he was in one of the first two facilities in the country where local authorities allow illegal drug use to make him less lethal. „The safe place to drink does God`s work, but they do it in the wrong place,“ says Hill, who co-founded a neighborhood group called the Greater Harlem Coalition. The Biden administration has not taken a public position on overdose prevention centers, which are considered illegal under federal law. It prohibits people from providing space for the use of illegal drugs. But if the New York sites can operate without being cracked down on by federal prosecutors, it could pave the way for organizations in other cities to open their own facilities. In January, a panel of federal judges blocked the creation of a supervised injection site, which was proposed in Philadelphia. „The opioid crisis can call for innovative solutions. [but] local innovation must not violate federal law,“ the 3rd U.S. Court of Appeals justices concluded.
As of 3 p.m. Wednesday afternoon, the referral center at the New York City Harm Reduction Educators site in East Harlem was occupied. A few people lingered at the back of the room and asked a staff member when it was their turn to go to a cordoned off area where they could use drugs such as heroin or cocaine under the supervision of staff.