Citing the staggering increase in heroin use and overdose deaths, an upstate New York mayor is proposing the nation's first supervised injection facilities modeled after sites in Canada and Europe, places where addicts can safely shoot up heroin under clinical supervision while receiving health care and counseling.
"One-hundred and twenty-five people will die in America today from opioid overdose, will die in the streets or will die in their homes or will die in gas station bathrooms," Ithaca Mayor Svante Myrick told reporters Wednesday, citing federal figures on the epidemic of opioid overdose deaths.
To back his controversial proposal, Myrick, 28, released a report recommending, among other things, treating heroin addiction by allowing users to inject drugs at supervised facilities. Similar centers have been found to reduce the spread of infectious disease, overdose deaths and improperly discarded syringes.
Myrick said the report is a blueprint for cities struggling to deal with a rise in heroin addiction and overdose deaths.
"This is a strategy that sounds as outrageous as the strategy that we came up with to provide sexual education to teenagers, something that was unthinkable in the '70s," said Myrick, whose father was a heroin addict.
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