Two mayors from Massachusetts recently decided to visit Canada. They want to figure out solutions because there is an opioid crisis in America. They will visit parts of Canada that are also suffering from the same crisis. One mayor is the Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, and the other mayor is the Cambridge Mayor Marc McGovern.
Canada has created safe injection sites in an attempt to reduce the harm opioids are creating in their country. These sites let people use illegal drugs under medical supervision. People can bring drugs they have gotten to these sites and inject them with tools from the facility. The idea is based on the fact that people are already going to do them illegally. It would be better to let them intake illegal drugs with medical help so they won’t overdose.
The mayors explained that the crisis in Massachusetts is extremely dire. They are looking at any possible solution. This does not mean that they are going to adopt safe injection sites. The more information they can get, the more options they can have to consider.
Safe injection sites are not unique to Canada. Countries all over the world have set them up especially for drugs such as heroin. Overdose is common for people who do drugs illegally because they do not have people around them who can report an overdose when it does happen. Opioids are killing a lot of Americans. If the number one goal is to stop people from dying, safe injection sites can prove to be useful.
In America, there has never been a safe injection site. Cities like San Francisco have considered it, but it is illegal under federal law. Besides being surrounded by staff, the sites have a lot of other safety measures. The sites have clean needles which a lot of addicts do not know how to find. If someone wants to go to rehab or want help, these sites can provide an easy way for them to find help.
Walsh will be visiting Toronto and Montreal. McGovern will be visiting Montreal too. They will try to learn and see how these safe injection sites work. If they do consider opening some in Massachusetts, there are a lot of safety procedures that need to be followed.
Both of these mayors have joined the Harm Reduction Commission in Massachusetts. They have been sent to learn because the commission wants to consider safe injection sites.
Some people may find these sites counter-intuitive. Why would you let people who are addicted to drugs do them? The number one goal for these sites is to stop people from dying. In the end, if you cannot stop someone from abusing opioids, the next best option is to make sure the abuser is safe when they are taking them.
There have been researching and case studies on safe injection sites. They have provided evidence that death rates do decrease with the sites help. The epidemic has already started. The job isn’t to prevent the epidemic but how to save people from it.