Rhode Island safe-injection site?


Families mourn the deaths of overdose victims

Drug overdoses kill many people. In 2019, around 70,630 people died due to issues related to drug overdoses. That was up 4 percent from 2018. Drug overdose deaths have an upward trend in the number of deaths. It is currently one of the leading causes of accidental death in the U.S. So what can we do to help? Rhode Island says we should let people abuse substances in a specified place. Wouldn’t that be counterintuitive?
Rhode Island is piloting one of the first safe-injection sites in the country. This site would allow people with addictions to consume the drug in a supervised environment. In the event of a drug overdose, professionals can administer an antidote. The site also allows people to test their drugs for fentanyl, a synthetic opioid that drove overdose deaths to a nationwide high in 2020. People will not be charged for drug offenses when visiting the site. The goal of the site is harm reduction. Harm reduction is where they try to make sure people addicted to drugs do not accidentally overdose. Anyone who visits the site will be offered help for drug addiction. The end goal is getting people into a drug treatment program, but it will not happen if they die beforehand. SItes like these have been proven to decrease crime rates and that there have been no deaths.
So, as I mentioned before, this approach seems very counterintuitive. It allows people to use it with no consequences at all. Surely wouldn’t this increase substance abuse? No , it has not; in countries that already have a system like this, like Canada, it has shown an uptick in rehab admissions and decreased overall crime rates. Like I said before, substance abuse help is offered at these sites and it is just not a hangout spot for people who abuse substances. The end goal is to lead them into a rehab center. If illegal substances are illegal, people are more scared to get help and get the proper treatment they need to live a normal life and to keep a job, a family, a car, and more. This will help people realize the fact they could have died without actually dying and scare them enough to realize they have to change or they might die. This also allows people security because they will not be sent to jail for substance abuse. Therefore, they can keep what they already have like a job. If people lose their job, that can create an even bigger spiral downhill.
So it is great things like this are popping up because it can help people get the help they need. But a good way to not even have to deal with all the problems related to substance abuse is to not start using them. If someone offers you drugs, say no. The best solution is to just not start. You will have so much more freedom without the constant worrying that accompanies addiction. You will also just have an overall healthier life. In conclusion, people can get the help they need in a seemingly counterintuitive way that works and to just say no.