In Midst Of Opioid ‘Epidemic Of Historic Proportions,’ Cities Mull Controversial Safe-Injection Facilities
Philadelphia is looking into the idea of creating a facility to allow people to safely use their drugs in the hopes of preventing fatal overdoses. Research suggests opening just one site in the city could save nearly 80 people a year. “We have an obligation to do everything we can to prevent those people from dying," Philadelphia Health Commissioner Thomas Farley says.
The Wall Street Journal:
Philadelphia’s Novel Plan For Opioid Crisis: Supervised Drug Use
To address the deadly opioid crisis wracking Philadelphia, city leaders are backing a novel step to open a safe haven where addicts can use their drugs. The idea of permitting the open use of illicit opioids is controversial and largely untested in the U.S., but proponents argue that bringing opioid use out from the shadows would save lives. Opponents, including law-enforcement agencies and some public officials, say it would essentially sanctify an illegal activity and enable addicts. (Kamp, 1/25)
Kaiser Health News:
What’s Next For ‘Safe Injection’ Sites In Philadelphia?
“There are many people who are hesitant to go into treatment, despite their addiction, and we don’t want them to die,” said Dr. Thomas Farley, Philadelphia’s health commissioner and co-chair of the city’s opioid task force. Supervised safe-injection sites, he said, save lives by preventing overdose deaths and connecting people with treatment. (Gordon, 1/26)
In other news on the crisis —
Fentanyl Report Prompts Calls For Stricter Mail Screening
Senators on Thursday called for tougher screening of international mail shipments to prevent overseas drug manufacturers from sending deadly narcotics to the United States. At a hearing Thursday, the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations discussed the results of a report released a day earlier that showed how easy it is to purchase the powerful opioid fentanyl online. Fentanyl and similar substances have been a major contributor to the rising number of drug overdose deaths in recent years. Since small amounts can be diluted into larger quantities or mixed with other drugs, there is a large profit margin. (Siddons, 1/25)
Los Angeles Times:
Young Rappers Are Getting Honest About Doing Battle With Depression, Drug Addiction And Suicide
Back in December, in front of a sold-out audience at the Forum awaiting Grammy front-runner Jay-Z, opening act and rapper Vic Mensa vaulted onstage. Dressed in punky red leather, he was boisterous and triumphant, the show a crowning achievement in his career.But underneath the bravado were lacerating lyrics about depression and drug addiction."In the cyclone of my own addiction," he rapped on his song "Wings." (Brown, 1/25)
In Rare Bipartisan Act, Arizona Lawmakers Confront Opioid Epidemic
In a rare moment of bipartisanship, the Arizona Legislature voted unanimously Thursday night to approve a sweeping plan to combat the state's opioid epidemic that has claimed more than 800 lives since June. Lawmakers approved the Arizona Opioid Epidemic Act, legislation that would limit initial pain-pill fills to five days for “opioid naive” patients, and impose a maximum dosage limit for many others seeking new prescriptions. (Nicla and Gardiner, 1/25)