As painful as it is to admit, America has found itself within the midst of  one of the most lethal drug epidemics in history. Countless communities, from Maine to the especially devastated states of North Dakota and West Virginia, have experienced addiction and synthetic drug overdoses at horrific high level.
More often than not, the common route to opiate addiction usually begins with a legal prescription from a doctor for an opioid and then transitioning to illicit opiates like heroin or the all too fatal fentanyl — a dangerous key player in the opioid crisis in the U.S., particularly given that it is 50-100 times more powerful than street grade morphine or heroin.
The Center for Disease Control reports that there was a fivefold increase on overdose deaths from synthetic drugs in America, from “from 3,105 in 2013 to approximately 20,000 in 2016.” The common factor among most of these deaths is fentanyl, the same drug that killed talented musicians like Prince and recently took the life of rapper Lil Peep via a laced Xanax pill.

an image of a heroine injection kit in a supervised injection site in Vancouver, Canada

heroine injection kit (cbc)

In 2003, the Canadian city of Vancouver implemented a policy to contend with the growing usage of heroin. Instead of heroin users shooting up in public and sometimes with infected needles, addicts were encouraged to visit a supervised injection site where they will receive a clean needle and referrals to addiction treatment services. As opposed to overdosing unsupervised in public with dirty needles, clean needles result in intravenous disease risk going down and needles not lining the sidewalks.
To combat heroine addiction in San Francisco, the city has adopted a similar plan of supervised injection sites, offering the same services as the centers in Vancouver. In a city that is attempting to right many wrongs on the war on drugs, the San Francisco Chronicle reported that this measure received support from 76 percent of those surveyed by the Chamber of Commerce’s Dignity Health.
Those who support the measure see it as a practical and cost-effective option, given the state of addiction in the country and within San Francisco. As the city spends over $3.5 million a year in medical costs related to the opiate epidemic, their point is well understood.
On the other hand, 27 percent of the city disagreed with the measure, stating that it encouraged usage of potentially fatal drugs.
Still, a notable supporter of this measure was the city’s mayor, Mark Ferrell, who indicated that he understands an opposition to creating supervised injection sites; but it’s worth a try due to the prevalence of heroine addiction widespread in the city.
The injection site in San Francisco, will be the first in the country. Regardless of the outcome, it will be interesting to follow the news stories around this, particularly as it pertains to its impact on addiction as a whole.

What are your feelings on supervised injection sites? Tell me on Twitter at @CaptainKasoff.