Since President Nixon declared a war on drugs in 1971, America has struggled to come up with a solution to the ever growing substance abuse problem. As the opioid addiction reaches an all time high in 2017, officials are attempting to look at the heroin epidemic differently. For many years, it was looked at as a criminological issue, where harsher sentences were being imposed in hopes to deter individuals from using. Unfortunately, this has proven ineffective because ninety people currently die each day from an opioid overdose. Addiction is a disease, a chronic brain disorder that causes severe obsessions resulting in compulsive drug seeking habits, despite known negative consequences. Approaching addiction as a mental health issue, rather than a criminological issue, could be beneficial to understanding and overcoming the wave of addiction that has swept America.
Each day, users find, use, and overdose from heroin on the streets of our cities. When you’re addicted, it doesn’t matter to you where you’re using, as long as you’re using. Typically, a heroin addiction isn’t something you can hide and carry on with a normal life. Most people who use heroin on a regular basis begin to lose everything they have. Heroin is extremely expensive so an addict will usually spend all their money to support their addiction, which negatively impacts other parts of their life. They won’t have money for important bills or to support their family, and can ultimately end up homeless. If you take a look down some of the streets in large metropolitan cities throughout the United States, you will see addicts lying unconscious or extremely high with their needles spread all over the sidewalks.
Heroin can be a dirty addiction, and users often share needles, which results in a whole other HIV issue. Safe injection sites have been present in many other countries for years and essentially provide a safe place for people to use intravenous drugs. It takes addicts off the streets and puts them in a safe place under medical supervision. The idea behind safe injection sites is addicts are going to use regardless, so we may as well put them in a safe place where they can be provided with clean needles and monitored for potential overdose. If an individual overdoses, which happens quite often, they are provided the medical attention they need to revive and save their lives, instead of dying alone on the street.
Many people are terrified of bringing safe injection sites to America because they are afraid it will fuel the heroin epidemic. All new change can be frightening, and the thought of promoting a place where people can go to use drugs can seem like a terrible idea. Yet, we need to place emphasis on what we are doing now. The 2016 opioid death rate is approximated at 64,000, so it appears our current approach to the war on drugs is ineffective. Something needs to change and lives need to be saved.
The answer to recovery is Simple. Our multi-tiered program is designed to help your loved one find success on a new path in life through school, work, and meaningful volunteering. Structured for progress, clients at Simple Recovery transition seamlessly through each phase of their recovery. For information on our full continuum of care options for recovery from addiction and co-occurring mental health, call us today: 888-743-0490