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Safe Injection Sites as a Tool for Combatting Overdose Deaths

Dorm Partner and Chief Clinical Officer Amanda Fialk, PhD recently responded to the alarming increase in overdose deaths our country has faced in an op-ed featured in Gotham Gazette. She sites the proven benefits of safe injection sites for those struggling with substance use. After 50 years of an unsuccessful “war on drugs” she highlights the power of connection and community for recovery over criminalization and incarceration.

“We need interventions that step away from shame and stigma and instead lean into connection, compassion, and understanding. Safe injection sites do exactly this and will be vital in the fight against overdose deaths,” she said.

Fighting addiction and overdose in NYC (photo: Edwin J. Torres/Mayoral Photo Office)

In fact, safe injection sites are a proven harm reduction strategy for communities facing our country’s opioid epidemic.

“Research indicates that safe injection sites reduce the amount and frequency of drug use, public injecting, drug trafficking and crime (in areas where the facilities are located), HIV and HEP C high risk behavior, and overdose/overdose deaths,” she said.

Furthermore, “we must remember that every individual who walks into a safe injection site is saying that they love themselves just a little more than they love a substance, that they value their life, and that they do not want to die. For someone addicted to substances this is monumental. From there, we need to love and embrace the user until they are capable of loving and embracing themselves on their own, as our government simultaneously establishes policies and institutions that are truly understanding of the initial issue.

Our country needs to connect with and deliver compassionate services to the 21 million Americans struggling with a substance use disorder in this country, if we ever intend to combat addiction and its root causes.”

Published in:

Gotham Gazette

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