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California Is Considering Opening Safe Spaces For People To Use Drugs

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California Is Considering Opening Safe Spaces For People To Use Drugs

California lawmakers are considering introducing sites where people suffering from addiction can go to shoot or snort illegal drugs.

If opened, people using the sites will be carefully supervised by health workers and the proposed facilities will hopefully save lives as overdoses soar across the US.

San Francisco senator Scott Wiener said that ‘safe consumption sites’ would also slow down the spread of HIV and hepatitis as clean syringes will be available. 

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California may open sites where people can safely consume drugs: Alamy
California may open sites where people can safely consume drugs: Alamy

According to NPR, Wiener, who wants trial sites to open in Oakland, San Francisco and Los Angeles, explained: “Instead of having people use drugs on the sidewalk when your kid is walking by, we want to give them a place where they can go inside.”

He added: “Our hospitals, our emergency rooms, our fire department, our ambulances are all spending huge resources on people who are overdosing.”

Wiener also pointed to cost analysis figures published in Sage that suggest for every dollar spent on safe consumption in San Francisco, the city would save $2.33.

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Facilities where addicts could go to use drugs would range from warehouses to converted RVs and according to NPR the interior of sites will look similar to ‘hair salons, with mirrors lining the wall’.

Individuals will have access to their own stall where steel countertops and sterile supplies will be laid out. 

Epidemiologist Alex Kral explained: “You'll have two rooms. The first room is where people can inject under supervision. And then you have a second room where people can basically chill out after they have used drugs and be monitored."

He went on: "There have probably been tens of millions of injections people have done in these sites over the last 35 years and no one has ever died of an overdose."

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Health care staff working at the facility will have ‘crash carts’ stocked with life-saving tools like the medicine naloxone to prevent drug overdoses. 

People using the sites will be carefully supervised by health workers. Credit: Alamy
People using the sites will be carefully supervised by health workers. Credit: Alamy

Naloxone can quickly reverse the effects of an opioid overdose and restore normal breathing and is most commonly administered as an injection or nasal spray.

Lawmakers hope the facilities will connect drug users to social services and inspire them to get clean. 

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Back in 2018, proposals for similar facilities in California were vetoed by Gov. Jerry Brown, while New York successfully opened two sites last autumn. 

10,000 people died of an overdose in California last year and the US saw 100,000 overdose fatalities nationwide.

If you want friendly, confidential advice about drugs, you can talk to FRANK. You can call 0300 123 6600, text 82111 or contact through their website 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, or livechat from 2pm-6pm any day of the week 

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Topics: News, US News, Health, Drugs

Aisha Nozari
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