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US New York City Opening Safe Sites for Narcotics Use After Setting Overdose Record in 2020

23:00  30 november  2021
23:00  30 november  2021 Source:   newsweek.com

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New York City has become the first in the U.S. to open its own supervised drug consumption sites in hopes of combating a growing number of overdose deaths. The " Overdose Prevention Centers" that went online Tuesday, according to Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Office, are " safe places where people who use drugs can receive medical care and be The city reported 596 overdose deaths in the first quarter of this year – which it says is the highest in a single quarter since it began tracking them in 2000. Its Health Department also conducted a study suggesting the centers could help save up to 130 lives annually.

Two supervised injection sites could be open as soon as Tuesday in Manhattan to combat a sharp increase in overdose deaths in New York City . The two safe injection sites , one opening in East Harlem and the other in Washington Heights, will offer clean needles to drug users, administer naloxone Other cities such as Philadelphia, Boston and Seattle have taken initial steps to open their own injection sites , but have not managed to open the locations and they face continuing debate and scrutiny. More than 93,000 people died from drug overdoses in the US last year, a record number

New York City is set to open safe sites for people to use narcotics in hopes of controlling overdoses after the city set a new record last year, the Associated Press reported.

In this June 19, 2018, photo, a safe needle disposal container hangs in the bathroom of VOCAL-NY headquarters in the Brooklyn borough of New York. The first officially authorized safe havens for people to use heroin and other narcotics have been cleared to open in New York City in hopes of curbing overdoses, the mayor and health commissioner said Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2021. © Mary Altaffer/AP Photo In this June 19, 2018, photo, a safe needle disposal container hangs in the bathroom of VOCAL-NY headquarters in the Brooklyn borough of New York. The first officially authorized safe havens for people to use heroin and other narcotics have been cleared to open in New York City in hopes of curbing overdoses, the mayor and health commissioner said Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2021.

The supervised injection sites were added to locations where existing syringe exchange programs were. The sites were open Tuesday, City Health Commissioner Dr. Dave Chokshi said.

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Following a surge in overdose deaths across the US, New York City will open two supervised injection sites in Manhattan, allowing people to use drugs such as heroin while under supervised medical care with access to social services and addiction treatment. The city ’s first two pilot overdose prevention centres in the East Harlem The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recorded more than 90,000 drug overdose -related deaths in 2020 , the deadliest year on record . Within a 12-month period that ended in April, more than 100,000 Americans died of drug overdoses , a nearly 30 per cent spike

Overdose in New York City . The United States is in the midst of a overdose epidemic, with over 63,000 deaths in 2016 due to overdose . The majority of these deaths (66%) are caused by opioids, a drug class that includes prescription painkillers, heroin, and the highly potent synthetic compound Fentanyl is a highly potent synthetic opioid propelling drug overdose deaths to record numbers. While fentanyl is a prescription medication used for cancer-related pain or palliative care, non-pharmaceutical fentanyl has been introduced into illicit drug markets in New York City and nationally in recent years.

The facilities will "bring people in from the streets, improving the life for everyone involved," he said.

Advocates said the facilities save lives because it allows drugs users a safe space to use and be watched for signs of overdoses after the record number of overdoses the city saw last year.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) there were more than 2,060 overdoses during 2020 in New York City. It's the highest reported number of overdoses since the state started recording in 2000.

Users must bring their own drugs to the supervised injection sites as drugs are not sold at the locations. The site will have people to watch for signs of overdose and administer medication if needed.

As of now, federal law bans facilities that operate as a place for people to use narcotics.

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New York is regarded as. the most significant heroin market and. Source: National Forensic Laboratory Information System-Drug Retrieved July 10, 2020 . Fentanyl use and overdose deaths are more widespread across the country as the opioid crisis continues. Overall, fentanyl-involved deaths are still the most concentrated in states in the Great Lakes and Northeast of the United States. Overdose data indicates fentanyl use continues in areas with traditional white powder heroin prevalence while its use appears to be expanding into other regions in the United States, such as west of the Mississippi River.

Overdoses , use of Narcan and deaths are all up this year through October when compared to the first ten months of 2020 . Overdose deaths have jumped more than 62%. Thum highlighted a “community component” today. “This is where community partners, family members identify issues that are out there and The police chief spoke to a particular subset of the community on Monday. “I think this is where I implore young people and who may be listening to this and people in general,” Thum said. “If you’re thinking about using these types of narcotics , I want you to think and visualize your parents finding

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below:

The U.S. Supreme Court declined last month to take up a Philadelphia group's fight to open a safe injection site, which a divided federal appeals court had rejected. Federal prosecutors in Philadelphia had sued to stop it, citing a 1980s law that was aimed at shuttering locations where people used crack cocaine.

The U.S. Justice Department declined Tuesday to comment on New York City's plan.

Chokshi suggested the facilities also would offer people referrals to drug treatment and other services.

"I'm proud to show cities in this country that after decades of failure, a smarter approach is possible," Mayor Bill de Blasio, a Democrat, said in a statement.

Opponents, however, see the sites as a moral failure that essentially sanctions people harming themselves.

The "overdose prevention centers"—commonly known as supervised injection sites—have been discussed for years in New York and some other U.S. cities and states. They already exist in Canada, Australia and Europe.

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After the first decrease in a quarter-century, in 2018, the number of deaths is again on the rise. Drug deaths in America, which fell for the first time in 25 years in 2018, rose to record numbers in 2019 and are continuing to climb, a resurgence that is being complicated and perhaps worsened by the coronavirus pandemic. Nearly 72,000 Americans died from drug overdoses last year, according to preliminary data released Wednesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — an increase of 5 percent from 2018.

In 2020 , America’s ongoing illicit drug crisis was compounded by the worst public health crisis in 100 years – the COVID-19 pandemic. After a slight decline in 2018, drug overdose deaths in the United States increased to over 72,000 in 2019, according to preliminary data from the U.S. Centers for Methamphetamine production, trafficking, and use set new record levels in many regions, especially in Southeast Asia and parts of Africa and North America. New psychoactive substances (NPS) expanded to new markets, the most lethal forms of which were synthetic opioids that enabled criminals to avoid

A few unofficial facilities have operated in the city for some time, allowing drug users a monitored place to partake.

The U.S. has been contending for years with a boom in opioid use and deaths, fueled at first by increased prescribing in the 1990s and then by users turning to heroin and illicit fentanyl. Nearly 500,000 people nationwide died of opioid overdoses from 1999-2019, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the epidemic only worsened last year.

The CDC estimated there were more than 93,300 overdose deaths in 2020, up nearly 30 percent from the prior year's number.

Looking at such statistics, cities from San Francisco to the college town of Ithaca, New York, have sought to open supervised injection sites. In July, Rhode Island became the first state to authorize them.

At the same time, some communities in the Seattle area and elsewhere have moved to ban them or discussed doing so.

Researchers have estimated that New York's City's proposal could prevent 130 deaths and save $7 million in health care expenses per year. Studies have also found that such facilities reduce HIV infections and 911 calls for overdoses, among other problems.

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De Blasio, who is term-limited and leaving office next month, first asked the state for permission to authorize such sites in 2018.

At the time, city officials said they would need approval from the state Health Department and the district attorneys in the areas of the sites, among other officials.

An inquiry was sent Tuesday to the Health Department.

Some of New York City's five district attorneys, including those in Brooklyn and Manhattan, are open to safe injection sites. But city special narcotics prosecutor Bridget Brennan has expressed reservations, saying the facilities could risk legal problems, neighborhood tension and giving a misimpression that drug use is safe.

FILE - In this July 3, 2018 file photo, Evelyn Milan, right, director of services at VOCAL-NY, prepares a package with sterile injecting equipment for a member at the organization's headquarters in the Brooklyn borough of New York. The first officially authorized safe havens for people to use heroin and other narcotics have been cleared to open in New York City in hopes of curbing overdoses, the mayor and health commissioner said Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2021. Mary Altaffer, File/AP Photo © Mary Altaffer, File/AP Photo FILE - In this July 3, 2018 file photo, Evelyn Milan, right, director of services at VOCAL-NY, prepares a package with sterile injecting equipment for a member at the organization's headquarters in the Brooklyn borough of New York. The first officially authorized safe havens for people to use heroin and other narcotics have been cleared to open in New York City in hopes of curbing overdoses, the mayor and health commissioner said Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2021. Mary Altaffer, File/AP Photo

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