By the middle of the year, San Francisco is going to be taking a controversial new step to tackle and treat drug addiction while curbing the rising number of drug overdoses. Two safe injection sites will be opening to allow intravenous drug users to inject substances such as heroin.
The first two safe injection sites are set to open their doors in July, as the fiscal year comes to an end.
By implementing safe sites for intravenous drug use, the city is expecting to be able to save more than $3 million in medical costs every year. According to local authorities, San Francisco currently has more than 20,000 intravenous drug users and the majority of them would be willing to use the locations designated for safe injection.
The director of the city’s Public Health Department stated that specific details about the initiative are still being determined but several local organizations will be coming together to offer a range of services that aim to help curb substance abuse and drug addiction in the area.
Supervised facilities for safe drug injection do not exist nationally yet but have been implemented in other countries such as Canada and Germany and have proven to be successful in reducing public health hazards and disorder.
Highest rates of illicit substance use
The city of San Francisco has a yearly average of illicit substance use that surpasses the annual average of the entire state of California as well as the estimated national averages.
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, more than 780,000 people who are 12 years old or older engage in illicit drug use every year. The rate represents more than 21 percent of the Metropolitan Statistical Area. Concurrently, the estimated national rate of illicit drug use is less than 15 percent, while California’s illicit drug use rate is estimated to be just below 17 percent.
Due to the fact that oftentimes illicit drug use follows the use of prescription painkillers, addiction specialists and health care providers with patients in drug abuse treatment centers have been trying to improve the initial medical approaches to pain management in San Francisco.
Dolores Flanagan, a physician’s assistant based in San Francisco, explained that avoiding addictive opioid prescriptions is likely the first step in preventing more cases of drug addiction from occurring as well as relapses – consequently, also a potential key to improving… (continue reading)