ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — A coalition of public health groups and supporters of less punitive approaches to illegal drug use says New York should consider allowing heroin users to inject themselves in supervised settings to prevent overdoses.
The group includes advocates from the Drug Policy Alliance, the New York Academy of Medicine and VOCAL New York. In a statement Tuesday the coalition says supervised injection sites would place users under the watchful eyes of health workers who could intervene in case of an overdose.
They want health officials in New York City and at the state level to create such sites, which they say have been successful in curbing drug deaths elsewhere in the world.
Critics say supervised injection sites can be unsafe and send mixed messages about illegal drug use.
“This isn’t something you can just go out and use and all of a sudden wake up and you’re fine,” said Alan Rozansky, the Erie County Sheriff’s Office’s Chief of Narcotics. “The necessity of the heroin and monies it takes to keep using heroin will lead people to continue doing what they don’t normally do.”
“The solution is to try to curb this epidemic,” said Avi Israel, an advocate for addiction awareness. “Not to to tell somebody you can come here and use and don’t worry about it.”