The United States is experiencing an epidemic of drug overdose deaths. Since 2000, the rate of deaths from drug overdoses has increased 137%, including a 200% increase in the rate of overdose deaths involving opioids.
Heroin crisis in upstate New York
According to officials in Ithaca, New York, the heroin problem is turning into a crisis.
Svante Myrick is the Mayor of Ithaca and he has a plan to combat addiction and overdoses within the community.
Mayor Myrick wants the city to be the first in the United States to offer a supervised injection facility, where heroin users would be able to inject in a supervised setting.
The facility is one piece of a comprehensive new approach, entitled “The Ithaca Plan: A Public Health and Safety Approach to Drugs and Drug Policy”, and Myrick is looking at Vancouver’s Insite as a way to get there.
While working on “The Ithaca Plan”, Mayor Myrick and other Ithaca officials looked to Vancouver as the model of a city that has implemented a safe injection site as a means to combat the spread of disease and death associated with intravenous drug use.
Vancouver is home to the only two sanctioned safe injection sites in North America
Insite was founded in 2003 and sees about 700 people each day, according to Anna Marie D’Angelo, senior media relations officer for Vancouver Coastal Health.
It’s open to the public, whereas another similar facility, the Dr. Peter Centre, is client-based.
Over the last 13 years, millions of injections have occurred at Insite and there have been no deaths.
Mayor Svante Myrick joined Simi Sara to talk about why he is proposing to open a safe injection site in Ithaca, the controversy surrounding his proposal, and why he believes other cities in the United States should follow Vancouver’s lead and open safe injection sites as a method of harm reduction.