“Harm Reduction” or “Enabling”?
Supporters say fix rooms are for the greater public good, because they reduce overdose, disease, and crime. They say that simply expecting people to stop using drugs is unrealistic, so the modified immediate goal should be to reduce the harm associated with illicit drug use.
They believe that supervised safe consumption facilities are just the logical next step, after other harm reduction efforts:
- Needle exchanges
- Availability and training in the use of naloxone
- Opioid Replacement Therapy using methadone or buprenorphine
- Medication-Assisted Treatment
Addiction expert Vaughan Rees, with the Harvard School of Public Health, weighs in, saying, “Short of being able to implement treatment, we need to think about how we can reduce the risk of drug use.”
Opponents argue that sanctioned heroin injection sites, broadcast the wrong message, giving state-sponsored approval of an illegal and potentially-dangerous behavior.
Tony Clement, formerly Canada’s Health Minister, made a barbed analogy when he compared safe rooms to “…a doctor holding a cigarette to make sure a smoker doesn’t burn his lips, or watching a woman with cardiac problems eat fatty french fries to ensure she swallows them properly.”
What Does the Future Hold?
Barbara Herbert, the President of the American Society of Addiction Medicine’s Massachusetts chapter, understands both sides of the issue, saying, “The controversy, is, does it encourage people to keep using if we make their lives less dangerous and less miserable, or can we scare people into care?
In January 2017, Seattle officials approved the development of the first safe injection sites in the United States.
While Lasting Recovery outpatient drug rehab in San Diego supports any measures that can save lives, the best way to achieve TRUE recovery – sobriety, stability, and safety – is through abstinence on opiates, and support of MAT, (medically assisted treatment) and by lifestyle changes.
If you are ready to get help, contact Lasting Recovery today.
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