On December 18th at 4:30pm in the Governor Daniel D. Tompkins Building (121 E. Court Street Ithaca, NY 14850) in the second floor legislative chambers the monthly Health and Human Services committee will continue the discussion on supervised injection sites.
Across the country we are seeing consistent increases in opioid use with a huge upsurge in first time users and people transitioning from prescription drugs to heroin. Usage spans across all income and racial groups and both urban as well as rural communities, which have seen the greatest rates of increase. Deaths, either directly or indirectly caused by opioid overdoses, are on a steady rise as are associated diseases like Hepatitis C and HIV as a result of needle sharing.
Tompkins County has seen its fair share of these increases including a rise in opioid overdose deaths reaching 21 in 2016 and 14 in the first 6 months of 2017 (not including drug related deaths).
For decades in the United States we have focused our efforts on a model referred by many as the war on drugs. Statistically speaking, drug raids and crack downs have not systematically reduced either selling or use and may be a catalyst for shifting drug activity zones. This model has not systematically reduced transmission rates of related infectious diseases like Hepatitis C and HIV and may lead to unsafe injections exacerbating emergency room usage as a result of, for example, skin and soft tissue infections, sepsis, and heart valve infections as well as overdoses. This mode has not promoted systematic shifts towards treatment or abstinence by users and has led rather to crowded jails and an overtaxed court system.