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Will supervised injection sites help win the war on opioids?

Law enforcement and treatment experts are on the same side in the war on opioids, but divided when it comes to one drastic solution being proposed in Albany.

Posted: Jan. 30, 2018 5:36 PM
Updated: Feb. 26, 2018 4:31 PM

Law enforcement and treatment experts are on the same side in the war on opioids, but divided when it comes to one drastic solution being proposed in Albany.

"It's like prevention, you have to look at the longterm outcome to it, so if you can keep people safe in the in between, you're gonna achieve a more succesful rate of people being free of their drug," says Cassandra Sheets, CEO of The Center For Family Life and Recovery in Utica.

Sheets is speaking of proposed legislation the coalition "End Overdose NY," pitched in Albany Monday, which would allow for the establishment of safe, supervised injection sites for opioid users. For Oneida County Sheriff Rober Maciol, the proposal goes against everything he's done as a police officer battling drugs for nearly 30 years.

"I just have a hard time comprehending the fact that we're going to enable these people to enable their attention when we really should be focusing every bit of attention, resource and energy that we have to curing their addiction"

Sheets says it's been done in other places, with much success.

"Of the addicts who came in to use safe injection sites in Germany, 45% of those addicts actually achieved full recovery," said Sheets.

But Sheriff Maciol says there are too many questions, many of which might have no satisfactory answers.

"Which community's going to have the clinic? Are there going to be multple locations? I'm sure there's going to be opposition to these clinics, and then, are they totally supervised until the drugs wear off, or are they allowed to inject the heroin and then go out in the community and are we liable for what they might do after they leave the clinic?"

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