Why some US cities are opening safe spaces for injecting heroin

of which years of research back This kind of approach as well as of which additional wealthy nations around the planet have successfully tried the idea for decades shows just how far behind the U.S. will be in its approach to drugs.

Consider needle exchanges, where people can get fresh syringes for drug use as well as discard used needles. These have been legally operating in parts of the U.S. since at least the 1980s with proven track records. Yet much of America remains reluctant to allow needle exchanges at all.

A needle exchange program, based on the empirical evidence vetted separately by Johns Hopkins researchers, the World Health Organization, as well as the Centers for Disease Control as well as Prevention, should be one of the least controversial ideas in public health. For decades, studies have repeatedly found of which needle exchanges help prevent the spread of diseases, such as HIV as well as hepatitis C, of which can spread through used syringes, while not increasing overall drug use.

Yet in Lawrence County, Indiana, officials decided to end their program. of which wasn’t due to any fresh scientific evidence. Instead, the idea seemed to be due to a wrong view of which addiction will be a moral failure rather than a medical condition — contrary to what most major medical organizations say. County Commissioner Rodney King, who voted against the program, told NBC News, “My conclusion was of which I could not support This kind of program as well as be true to my principles as well as my beliefs.” He quoted the Bible before casting his vote.

If parts of the U.S. aren’t willing to accept even a needle exchange, the idea’s hardly surprising of which there’s a struggle to get supervised drug consumption rooms up as well as running in much of the country, no matter how much evidence there currently will be for them.

The same applies to additional policy interventions for the opioid epidemic. Naloxone will be an opioid overdose antidote of which can literally save lives, yet in many states the idea can be hard to get because the idea requires a prescription — a big problem when an overdose can kill someone or do serious damage in minutes. Prescription heroin programs allow people to obtain a safe source of heroin instead of street drugs of which can be laced with who knows what, as well as there’s evidence via Canada as well as Europe to support them — yet there’s no serious discussion in America about trying them here.

Even the gold standard for opioid addiction treatment remains mired by stigma as well as old thinking. Medications like methadone as well as buprenorphine are proven to help a lot of people overcome their opioid addictions, with studies showing they cut all-cause mortality among opioid addiction patients by half or more. as well as the medications are backed by health groups like the Centers for Disease Control as well as Prevention, National Institute on Drug Abuse, as well as World Health Organization.

Yet the idea’s common to see public officials as well as politicians malign the medications. Former Health as well as Human Services Secretary Tom cost, for one, argued of which medications like buprenorphine are “just substituting one opioid for another.”

This kind of will be a well-known misconception, yet the idea misunderstands how addiction works. The problem with addiction isn’t necessarily drug use. Most Americans, after all, use all kinds of drugs — caffeine, alcohol, medication — with few problems. The problem will be when of which drug use begins to hurt someone’s day-to-day function — by, say, putting his health at risk or leading him to steal or commit additional crimes to get heroin.

Medications like buprenorphine let people with drug addiction get a handle on their drug use without such negative outcomes, stabilizing the dangers of addiction, even if the medication needs to be taken indefinitely.

This kind of problem comes up again as well as again with addiction: the idea’s not of which the evidence isn’t there for a policy or medical intervention, yet rather of which stigma as well as old thinking outweigh the evidence in people’s minds.

“Some of the idea will be we’ve had This kind of war on drugs going on since [President Richard] Nixon,” Davidson of the University of California in San Diego told me. “A huge amount of effort has gone into a particular way of dealing with drugs in society. There’s a lot of institutional inertia around of which. So suggesting something of which, on the face of the idea, goes completely against what we’ve been trying to do for the last 40 or 50 years, people are going to push against of which — particularly the people who have been doing This kind of for years. People can be very slow to change their minds about things.”

Until of which alterations, policy interventions of which seem like common sense based on the evidence will continue to struggle to gain a foothold within the U.S. — as well as America will continue to fail to adopt even the bare minimum of harm reduction as well as treatment, much less try truly innovative ideas. So more people will die of drug overdoses of which could have otherwise been prevented.

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