Does anyone care that ‘safe injection sites’ are neither safe nor legal?
Thank you, Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro, for giving me cover so I don’t wind up being painted as the “worst person in the world,” the label Keith Olbermann used on his TV show to hang on people he didn’t like.
I have been silent as the opioid epidemic raged because I had no clear-cut solution. The debate currently swirls around the idea of city-approved “safe injection sites,” more formally known as CUES – comprehensive user engagement sites.
First, contrary to the name, “safe injection sites” are not “safe.”
We have so many overdoses because of the unpredictable potency of the drugs. “You shoot this poison in your veins and you have no idea whether you’re going to live or whether you’re going to die,” says Shapiro.
Second, the sites would be against the law, Shapiro was quoted as saying. I was so happy to read that the state’s chief law enforcement officer believes in law, I had to talk to him.
Turns out he has his own ideas about how to fight the opioid epidemic.
First, arrest the dealers. Second, go after doctors to prevent diversion of legal drugs to illegal use. Finally, he tells me, take on pharmaceutical companies to slow the flow of drugs into the community.
That injection sites are illegal is something CUES proponents like to ignore or brush off.
At the (not) safe injection sites, volunteers would provide life-saving doses of naloxone to those who overdose. Will the (not) safe injection sites do anything to reduce drug use, or will they actually expand drug use by providing life preservers?
I understand the impulse to help, but it is misguided.
Would we consider safe smoking sites where tobacco addicts could light up and be handed oxygen canisters? How about safe alcohol venues where drunks can get blasted with volunteers waiting to drive them home? Both smoking and alcohol kill, but not as fast as heroin or fentanyl.