“SUPERVISED” DRUG SITES

March 13, 2018 at 6:45 pm

Are supervised injection sites for drug users the solution to New York’s opioid overdose epidemic?  The controversial approach would allow addicts to inject drugs under the supervision of a doctor or nurse who can administer an overdose antidote if necessary. Kassandra Frederique, New York State director of the Drug Policy Alliance is here to explain.

Aired on March 13, 2018. 

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>> THE STATISTICS ARE
STAGGERING.
IN 2016, NYC HAD 1,374 OVERDOSE
DEATHS.
THAT'S FOUR OVERDOSES EVERY DAY,
WITH A DEATH EVERY SIX HOURS.
DEDICATED PUBLIC HEALTH
OFFICIALS AND POLICYMAKERS HAVE
SUGGESTED AN IDEA THAT HAS NO
PRECEDENCE IN THE UNITED STATES.
IT'S KNOWN AS SUPERVISED DRUG
CONSUMPTION SITES, WHERE TRAINED
COUNSELORS MAKE CONNECTION TO
LONG-TERM TREATMENT OPTIONS FOR
PEOPLE WHO BRING THEIR OWN
DRUGS.
MOST OFTEN HEROIN.
HERE TO EXPLAIN HOW THIS WOULD
WORK AND SAVE LIVES IS KASANDRA
FREDERICK, THE NEW YORK STATE
DIRECTOR OF THE DRUG CONTROL
ALLIANCE.
THANK YOU FOR BEING HERE.
>> THANK YOU FOR HAVING ME.
>> I THINK PEOPLE WHEN THEY HEAR
ABOUT SUPERVISED INJECTION SITES
SOUNDS ENABLING.
EXPLAIN TO ME HOW THIS WORKS.
>> USUALLY WHEN SOMEONE IS USING
DRUGS INTRAVENOUSLY, WE THINK
IT'S REALLY IMPORTANT FOR PEOPLE
TO HAVE ACCESS TO SPACE THEY CAN
COME TO, UNDER MEDICAL
SUPERVISION AND USE DRUGS AND
SPEAK TO PEOPLE.
CONSUMPTION CENTERS IN OTHER
COUNTRIES HAVE SAVED SO MANY
LIVES.
THINKING ABOUT HOW DO WE GET
PEOPLE TO A PLACE WHERE THEY'RE
MAKING SAFER DECISIONS BY
STABILIZING SOMETHING THAT'S
ALREADY CHAOTIC.
OR CAN BE CHAOTIC.
SO SAFE CONSUMPTION PLACES GIVE
PEOPLE ACCESS TO A PLACE PEOPLE
CAN COME TO, GET THE RESOURCES
THEY NEED TO BE SAFER, SO WE'RE
THINKING ABOUT GIVING PEOPLE
STERILE EQUIPMENT, SO PEOPLE
AREN'T SHARING NEEDLESS, WHICH
HAS ALWAYS BEEN SHOWN TO
INCREASE ACCESS TO HIV OR HEP C.
THEN YOU'RE GETTING PEOPLE A
SPACE TO USE DRUGS UNDER MEDICAL
SUPERVISION.
ONE OF THE THINGS ABOUT THE
OVERDOSE CRISIS NOW IS THAT MOST
OVERDOSES ARE PREVENTABLE.
WHEN YOU GIVE PEOPLE OXYGEN,
THEY COME BACK TO LIFE.
EVERY PERSON THAT COMES BACK TO
LIFE HAS ANOTHER CHANCE TO LIVE.
SO ESSENTIALLY THESE SAFER
CONSUMPTION STAYSESTAYSES S
CONSUMPTION STAYSPACES FOR A TO
FOR PEOPLE TO HAVE ACCESS, GIVES
THEM A SECOND CHANCE, OR A THIRD
OR A FOURTH.
IT GIVES THEM A POSSIBILITY TO
DO SOMETHING DIFFERENT.
>> I KNOW YOU SAID THIS HAS BEEN
TRIED IN OTHER COUNTRIES BUT I'M
WONDERING WHAT IT DOES FOR THE
ACTUAL ADDICT.
BUT AS PEOPLE HEAR THIS, THEY
SAY, I HAVE A LOVED ONE AND
THEY'RE STRUGGLING WITH THIS
ADDICTION, BUT IF YOU'RE GIVING
THEM A PLACE WHERE THEY CAN GO
AND GET HIGH SAFELY, AREN'T YOU
JUST MAKING THEIR DRUG ADDICTION
SAFE WITHOUT THEM GETTING ANY
HELP.
SO IS THIS A PLACE WHERE ADDICTS
KNOW THEY CAN GO TO SLOWLY BEGIN
THE TRANSITION OR EXPLAIN TO ME
WHAT IT IS.
>> SO ESSENTIALLY SAFER
CONSUMPTION PLACES ARE
ESSENTIALLY ABOUT SAVING LIVES
AND MEETING THE NEEDS OF THE
PERSON WHO'S USING THE DRUGS.
WHAT MTHAT MEANS IS GIVING THEMA
SAFE SPACE TO MAKE SAFER
CHOICES.
I THINK YES, WE WANT THAT TO
HAPPEN.
BUT DEAD PEOPLE DON'T RECOVER.
SO OUR BIGGEST PRIORITY RIGHT
NOW IS MAKING SURE PEOPLE STAY
ALIVE SO THAT THEY CAN MAKE
CHOICES THAT WORK FOR THEM.
AND ONE OF THE THINGS AT SAFER
CONSUMPTION SITES, WHEN PEOPLE
HAVE ACCESS TO SAFER CONSUMPTION
SITES, IT INCREASES THEIR ACCESS
TO TREATMENT, IT INCREASES THEIR
ACCESS TO TREATMENT, WHEN YOU'RE
THERE, YOU'RE NOT RUNNING AWAY
FROM THE COPS, YOU'RE NOT USING
PUBLIC RESTROOMS, AND YOU GET TO
LOOK AROUND WITH WHILE YOU'RE
USING, YOU MIGHT THINK THIS IS
NOT WHAT I WANT.
IF SOMEONE OVERDOSES IN A SAFER
CONSUMPTION SPACE, WHAT WE KNOW
IS THAT PEOPLE BRING PEOPLE BACK
USING THE LOCK ZONE.
SOMEONE COMES BACK AND OFTEN
PEOPLE LEAVE, BUT IF YOU
OVERDOSE IN A SAFER CONSUMPTION
SITE THAT PERSON'S RIGHT THERE
AND THAT PERSON'S GOING TO TALK
TO YOU AND ASK YOU, WHAT ARE THE
CHOICES ARE YOU MAKING?
HOW CAN YOU DO SOMETHING
DIFFERENT?
ARE YOU INTERESTED IN TREATMENT
IN ARE YOU INTERESTED IN
MEDICATION ASSISTANCE?
SO WE HAVE PEOPLE THERE ON THE
SPOT GIVING PEOPLE CONTINUOUS
OPTIONS ABOUT THE CAN CHOICES
THEY'RE MAKING.
THE REASON WHY I SAY THESE
PEOPLE ARE SAVING LIVES.
RESEARCH HAS SHOWN THAT PEOPLE
INCREASE -- THE PEOPLE THAT ARE
ASSOCIATED WITH A SAFER
CONSUMPTION SITE ARE MORE LIKELY
TO BE IN TREATMENT THAN PEOPLE
THAT ARE NOT.
IT SHOWS THAT THE PEOPLE WHO
HAVE SAFER CONSUMPTION SITES,
THE SURROUNDING AREA, THE
OVERDOSE RIGHT WENT DOWN OVER
35%.
>> IS THIS MORE BECAUSE OF THE
GOING INTO TREATMENT COMES FROM
THE ADDICT THEMSELVES, BUT NOT
FROM FAMILY MEMBERS WHO ARE
DESPERATE TO GET THIS PERSON
HELP?
>> I THINK THE HARDEST THING FOR
PEOPLE WHO STRUGGLE WITH
ADDICTION AND PROBLEMATIC DRUG
USE IS THAT OFTEN TIMES BECAUSE
THEY'RE USING DRUGS, IT FEELS
LIKE PEOPLE CAN'T MAKE THEIR OWN
CHOICES.
AND IT'S REALLY HARD FOR FAMILY
MEMBERS BECAUSE THEY DON'T AGREE
WITH THEIR CHOICES.
>> A FAMILY MEMBER SAYS THEY
HAVE ALREADY MADE THAT
HORRENDOUS CHOICE, WHY WOULD I
WANT THEM TO MAKE THEIR OWN
CHOICE?
>> WHAT WE KNOW IS YOU HAVE TO
MEET PEOPLE WHERE THEY'RE AT.
WE CAN'T MAKE CHOICES FOR PEOPLE
BASED ON WHAT WE THINK THEY
SHOULD DO.
WE HAVE TO GIVE PEOPLE SPACE AND
RESOURCES AND BELIEVE THEY CAN
MAKE BETTER CHOICES.
HOW DO WE REDUCE THE HARMS
ASSOCIATED WITH POTENTIALLY
RISKY BEHAVIOR?
>>nd TH
>> AND THAT IS AN EXCELLENT
POINT.
BUT YOU ARE WITH THE STATE, WHAT
IS THE LIKELIHOOD OF SEEING THIS
IN OUR PART OF THE STATE?
>> WE ARE PUSHING FOR SAFE
CONSUMPTION SITES IN NEW YORK.
WE ACTUALLY DID A SAFER
CONSUMPTION FEASIBLE STUDY, TO
FIGURE OUT HOW THIS WOULD WORK
IN NEW YORK.
AND THAT REPORT IS DONE AND
WE'RE WAITING FOR MAYOR DE
BLASIO TO RELEASE THE REPORT TO
SAY WHAT COULD HAPPEN.
THAT REPORT WAS DUE IN NOVEMBER.
SO ADVOCATES ARE REALLY
INCREASING THE PRESSURE, AND
EVERY DAY THIS REPORT DOESN'T
COME OUT IS ANOTHER LIFE LOST.
>> SO WAITING ON THAT YOUR
QUESTION BLAZ YO.
>> WE'RE WAITING ON IING ON THE
BLASIO, BUT WE ARE REALLY
PUSHING FOR STATE ELECTED
OFFICIALS TO REALLY PUSH THIS
FORWARD.
LINDA ROSENTHAL INTRODUCED A
PIECE OF LEGISLATION THAT WOULD
CREATE SAFER CONSUMPTION SITES
IN NEW YORK.
SO THAT'S WHAT WE'RE PUSHING ON,
PUSHING ON THAT YOUR DE BLASIO
TO RELEASE THE REPORT, PUSHING
FOR THE LEGISLATION THAT
CONGRESSWOMAN ROSENTHAL
INTRODUCED.
>> THIS IS A HUGE ISSUE, WE HAVE
MOST OVERDOSE DEATHS ARE
PREVENTABLE AND THERE ARE PUBLIC
INTERVENTIONS THAT CAN SAFE
LIVES JUST LIKE SAFER
CONSUMPTION PLACES.
>> LISTEN, KASANDRA, THANK YOU
SO MUCH FOR BRINGING THIS NEW
ISSUE TO THE TABLE AT LEAST WHEN
IT COMES TO THE TABLE AND WE'LL
LOOK FORWARD TO SEEING HOW THIS
DEVELOPS.
>> THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR HAVING
ME.