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Sarah Matacale Sarah Matacale (Member) Writer

"Safe Injection Houses"- What's This?

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I gotta tell ya'll, this was a tough article to write objectively, I wanna hear what you think! I had strong opinions on this subject at first, and then I did some research. Not saying my thoughts changed, but new questions did pop into my mind. "Safe injection Houses" are here in the USA. What are they and what do you think about them? Go to First Page

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I haven't read all of the responses yet apologies if I am redundant. I am all for harm reduction. As a nurse anything to help keep a person alive can't be a bad thing. The idea that safe injection sites or needle exchage programs encourage drug use and cause people who don't use to start using is preposterous. Actually most needle exchange and supervised injection sites also provide resources to addicts who are ready to get clean. In Manhattan at one needle exchange program they have a bathroom with an intercom in it and if someone goes in there they are required to check in every 2 minutes or so and if someone stops responding the door is unlocked and someone is standing by with narcan. They have saved 25 plus lives since implementing this. Its not a supervised injection site officially but same concept. Addicts lives are worth saving just as much as anyone else's. Until some better solution comes along people are going to do drugs. No getting around that.

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While I understand and appreciate points made by both sides of this debate, I still have trouble getting on board with this concept. I acknowledge that this drug crisis is a rapidly growing epidemic in this country that looks to be spiraling out of control. It is time for the government and healthcare community to work together to find long lasting solutions. I have not read the studies that show how these safe sites have benefited communities in other parts of the world, but I can't help but wonder if these "benefits" are only short-term. The underlying issue is still not being addressed and I see this as nothing more than enabling and offering a short-term solution, which to me, isn't a solution at all.

Enabling? You think not having a supervised injection site around is going to keep drug use down? They will just use in pubic restrooms or in the park or wherever. Having a place to do drugs is the last thing on an addicts mind. These places just have medical help standing by in case of an overdose. They are handing out Narcan now at Rikers Island to inmates upon discharge. Until better solutions come about the only thing we can do is make sure these addicts don't spread disease and stay alive long enough to make the decision to get clean.

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You noticed that too, Fiona59? As an American, I want to state that we seen to like punishing people with certain illnesses. I'm not sure where that comes from, possibly from our Puritan roots.

I think the idea of 'safe houses' is a great idea. At least let's try.

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It may not be politically correct to say so, but I think this is a horrible idea. Maybe we should provide "safety escorts" for people while they rob businesses to get their drug money, too.

I agree.

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I just don't know. It's almost like drug use is being condoned,you know? Mixed feelings!

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Keep in mind that it's to their benefit not to find any crime. How about users who can't get a chair in the place in time for their next fix? They end up on the doorstep of a nearby business or home.

Now Seattle is talking about providing "clean" drugs for the addicts to use, free of charge. What is wrong with this picture? How about providing free drug treatment instead?

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Nope, nope, nope, nope. Why are we rewarding dangerous and addictive behaviors with zero consequences? This sounds like such a bad idea.

It isn't being rewarded.... it's being isolated. They aren't buying drugs there they are doing drugs there, supervised, by people trained to respond to emergencies.

I would like to partially retract my previous post. I didn't see the part about them being non-licenced trained volunteers. We aren't dealing with the nursing and medical ethics of promoting drug use. It's an organization preventing harm.

I'll say it again. Addiction is a disease. No one wakes up one day aspiring to be an expendable human being.

Getting every person in who walks through those doors treatment (assuming they are ready and want it) would be much cheaper on our system than the side effects of their disease... But even if we could get the funding we wouldn't have the facilities or practitioners to accomplish this.

If they inserted, maintained, and provided supplies for each addict to get a PICC line in that injection house it would still cost pennies compared to an uninsured indigent young adult being treated for Hep C on Medicaid. Some of my mother's meds costed $10k per pill. A foundation funds the drugs and each person we prevent from contracting it means someone else who needs the med gets it. Don't forget interferon, liver biopsies, blood work, imaging, and life-long monitoring.

Come on, we are a highly intelligent and educated population.... let's not act like an issue this big can have an answer that's right or wrong.

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Come on, we are a highly intelligent and educated population....

Frankly, I don't see a lot of evidence for that statement. Unfortunately.

Perhaps you are referencing the posters on AN, rather than our population at large.

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Frankly, I don't see a lot of evidence for that statement. Unfortunately.

Perhaps you are referencing the posters on AN, rather than our population at large.

I wouldn't even say it about the general AN population.

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I wouldn't even say it about the general AN population.

Well, now that you mention it...

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I am a needle exchange nurse, HIV/AIDs certified RN and am a strong supporter of harm reduction for injection drug users. There are nursing organizations in Canada and Europe who have been running needle exchanges and injection sites for many years. Check out Insite in Canada and the documentary Street Nurses about Canadian nurses working with injection drug users. I look forward to seeing more of these sites around the country run by nurses who support harm reduction and understand the utility of needle exchange.

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