Addiction is an epidemic that claims the lives of thousands of American every year – according to statistics provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 500,000 people died of a drug overdose between 2000 and 2014 in the United States. The number of overdose deaths credited to heroin, one of the most common causes of overdoses, have more than quadrupled since 2002 and claimed the lives of over 10,000 people in 2014 alone.No one has been able to implement an adequate response to this growing problem to date, but the King County task force that, after studying the opioid and heroin crisis in the region, recommended the creation of safe-injection sites for people addicted to heroin.
The concept is surprisingly simple, yet radical compared to the current norm in America. Essentially, the task force recommended the creation of two sites – one inside and the other outside of Seattle – that would provide a safe and clean space for addicts to come in off the street. Medical professionals would be close by in the event of an overdose in order to administer care and potentially save lives, safe disposal stations would be available in order to cut down on the number of dirty needles littered on the street.
A similar location was opened in Vancouver, B.C., and one study estimated that it saved the government at least $17 million by preventing as many as 83 HIV infections, and other studies indicate that the rate of overdoses in the area has dropped. While finding adequate locations may be difficult, those numbers are hard to argue with – saving lives and saving money, all while providing people with a safe space to handle their demons seems like a good start to potentially solving a deadly problem.
The ever-increasing overdose rate in America should prove that no matter how many addicts are arrested, the problem won’t go away without some kind of change. Getting people out of back alleys and into facilities staffed with people who only want to help them get better is a move in the right direction. Even better, it can help put them on the path to seeking a full recovery.
At Schick Shadel Hospital, we strive to provide people with the support and assistance they need to overcome their addictions. We have helped more than 80,000 people over the past 80 years through our counter conditioning program, and strive to help everyone who comes knocking on our doors. To learn more about how we can help you or your loved one, give us a call at (800) 272-8464, or fill out our online form to send us a confidential message