In New York there is some support for an "injection room" for those who are addicted to IV drugs to shoot up; however, there are those who are against the prospect of providing a space for those who shoot drugs. A local mother and addiction specialist who had lost her son to the growing opiate crisis is adamantly against the idea of providing this space for heroin addicts.
While some stand against the proposed measure, videos of individuals using IV opiate drugs in public places has made this epidemic impossible to ignore. Recent footage surfaced of a woman shooting heroin at a local bus station in Schenectady. Due to this, many health officials throughout New York City are calling for a supervised room for those to use their opiates in an attempt to curb the growing deaths from overdoses and keep needles away from the public.
The New York Academy of Medicine and other health groups believe that this step is necessary to ensure that more people stay safe during their addiction. These "injection rooms" will be fully staffed by health workers who will supervise the addicts and be available with naloxone, which is the antidote to overdoses. Peter Schafer who works with the New York Academy of Medicine is certain that this pilot program will help to save lives of those who shoot up in abandoned areas or buildings.
Kim Murdick is the mother who is opposed to this pilot. She lost her 22-year-old son, Sean Murdick, to an overdose and believes that the stigma that is associated with IV users will keep addicts away from these rooms. Her son was alone when he overdosed and she does not believe that people will come to a supervised injection room, stating that these resources should go to preventative care and treatment options for addicts. Keith Stack, the Executive Director for the Addictions Care Center, agrees with her and is a strong advocate for treatment and recovery services for opiate addicts.
In response, the group that is heading this pilot program states that these sort of services are a stepping stone for those in the opiate crisis. Injection rooms, just like needle exchange options, can be the beginning step for those who are struggling with their addiction. Offering help and assistance to users will make circumstances safer for the addict and the public while also increasing the chances of an addict using the same space to find help with their addiction. They are sure that this sort of space can become a safe haven for users and can help people to stop using drugs.
This program could save those who are struggling, halting the increase of overdoses that the entire nation has been dealing with in the last fifteen years. While there are not any current injection sites in the United States, this group is pushing to see New York City become the first state to approve this pilot project.
"My son was the co-captain of his varsity football team," Murdick said. "This addiction can happen to anyone."