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Thread: San Francisco considers injection room

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    Stay chooned in for more! Clint's Avatar
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    San Francisco considers injection room

    Here's a neat little story I saw on CNN. I think it's a great idea and would save some lives.
    One thing I don't understand is what keeps cops from waiting until people leave the facility then arresting them. You know they've probably still got some on them or are can be arrested for "suspicion" or "public intoxication". Unless there would be a log of who was there and what they used, that would exempt them from any legal repercussions after they left the clinic, in which case that would pretty much be a free pass to do whatever IV drugs you wanted as long as you could keep from being caught before you got to the clinic. I also don't understand why it says in one line that this project has the backing of the mayor, yet in the next line it says "he "is not inclined to support this program because, quite frankly, it may create more problems than it supposedly addresses."


    The original article can be seen here:
    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20071019/...sed_injections

    By LISA LEFF, Associated Press Writer Fri Oct 19, 12:36 AM ET

    SAN FRANCISCO - City health officials took steps Thursday toward opening the nation's first legal safe-injection room, where addicts could shoot up heroin, cocaine and other drugs under the supervision of nurses.

    SAN FRANCISCO - City health officials took steps Thursday toward opening the nation's first legal safe-injection room, where addicts could shoot up heroin, cocaine and other drugs under the supervision of nurses.
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    Hoping to reduce San Francisco's high rate of fatal drug overdoses, the public health department co-sponsored a symposium on the only such facility in North America, a four-year-old Vancouver site where an estimated 700 intravenous users a day self-administer narcotics under the supervision of nurses.

    "Having the conversation today will help us figure out whether this is a way to reduce the harms and improve the health of our community," said Grant Colfax, director of HIV prevention for the San Francisco Department of Public Health.

    Organizers of the daylong forum, which also included a coalition of nonprofit health and social-service groups, acknowledge that it could take years to get an injection center up and running. Along with legal hurdles at the state and federal level, such an effort would be almost sure to face political opposition.

    Bertha Madras, deputy director of demand reduction for the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, called San Francisco's consideration of such a facility "disconcerting" and "poor public policy."

    "The underlying philosophy is, 'We accept drug addiction, we accept the state of affairs as acceptable,'" Madras said. "This is a form of giving up."

    Sixty-five similar facilities exist in 27 cities in eight countries, but no other U.S. cities have considered creating one, according to Hilary McQuie, Western director for the Harm Reduction Coalition, a nonprofit that promotes alternative drug treatment methods.

    "If it happens anywhere in the U.S., it will most likely start in San Francisco," McQuie said. "It really just depends on if there is a political will here. How long it takes for that political will to develop is the main factor."

    Drug overdoses represented about one of every seven emergency calls handled by city paramedics between July 2006 and July 2007, according to San Francisco Fire Department Capt. Niels Tangherlini. At the same time, the number of deaths linked to overdoses has declined from a high of about 160 in 1995 to 40 in 2004, he said.

    Colfax estimated that there are between 11,000 and 15,000 intravenous drug users in San Francisco, most of them homeless men. Like many large U.S. cities, the city operates a clean-needle exchange program to reduce HIV and hepatitis C infections.

    Advocates plan to work on building community support for a safe-injection center, including backing from Mayor Gavin Newsom and the Board of Supervisors.

    The mayor's spokesman, Nathan Ballard, said Thursday that although he does not want to discourage debate, he "is not inclined to support this program because, quite frankly, it may create more problems than it supposedly addresses."

    In Switzerland, Spain and other European countries with such programs, the sites have been placed in existing public health clinics and created as stand-alone centers, said Andrew Reynolds, a program coordinator with San Francisco's city-run sexually transmitted diseases clinic.

    Possible locations for opening one in the city include homeless shelters, AIDS clinics or drug treatment centers, he said.

    "They aren't these hedonistic dens of iniquity," Reynolds said. "There is no buying or selling of drugs on the premises. Staff do not assist in injections."

    While it's too early to tell what the room in San Francisco would look like, Vancouver's InSite program is on the upper floor of a low-rise building in a downtown neighborhood where drug users shoot up in the open.

    The site, exempt from federal drug laws so users can visit without fear of arrest, has 12 private booths where addicts inject drugs such as heroin, cocaine or crystal. They can use equipment and techniques provided by the staff, and then relax with a cup of coffee or get medical attention in the "chill out" room where they are observed, said program coordinator Sarah Evans.

    "It looks kind of like a hair salon," Evans said of the bustling space. "If we were a restaurant, we would be making a profit."

    While 800 overdoses have occurred on the premises, none resulted in death because of the medical supervision provided at InSite, said Thomas Kerr, a University of British Columbia researcher who has extensively studied the program. His research also has shown an increase in addicts seeking drug treatment and a decrease in abandoned syringes, needle-sharing, drug-related crime and other problems since the clinic opened, he said.

    The results indicate the idea is worth replicating, despite the criticism it may attract, Kerr said.

    "I prefer the approach of the Vancouver Police Department, which was: 'We don't like the idea of this, but let's look at the evidence and at the end of three years we will tell you either this is something we can support or it's something we can't support,'" he said.

    Temple University law professor Scott Burris told the audience at Thursday's forum that a supervised injection room would seem to run afoul of federal drug possession laws and a state statute that makes it illegal to operate a crack house or any place where drugs are used, but only if the police and federal agents enforce them.

    He cited as an example California's medical marijuana law, which has allowed pot dispensaries to flourish but at the risk of being raided by federal authorities.

    "The law isn't a barrier," Burris said. "The issue of whether it's legal doesn't come up until somebody is arrested."

  2. #2
    NICK,NICK,NICK!!!!! Indians....... likeAstone76's Avatar
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    How about taking the funds they used to help support these addicts habbit, and use it on treatment programs for them? Talk about putting a band-aid on cancer.

    How about a special bar for AA? A casino for gambling addicts? Prositutes for rapists maybe? What's the difference?

    The war on drugs has failed, but this is not the answer.

    Leave it to San Fransicko.
    Here's to the first of the of the day fellas!! To old, D.H. Lawrence!!!!

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    Stay chooned in for more! Clint's Avatar
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    Because treatment programs would be far more expensive and if people are going to use they might as well use as safely as they possible can.

    It's called harm reduction. You COULD say they should start treatment centers instead of having safe places to shoot up, but you could also say instead of giving out free condoms we could give free bibles instead. One mentioned as already saved 800 lives.

    You really should equate sex addicts with rapists.... All sex addicts (the great majority I'd imagine although I don't know any) are not rapists and all rapists are not sex addicts (not that I know any rapists either but you get my point)

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    Moderator Schmoderator Fluorescent fluorite, England PlantAKiss's Avatar
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    Prositutes for rapists maybe?
    Rape has nothing to do with a need or desire for sex. Rapists are not sex addicts. In these modern times, I thought most people were pretty well educated about rape. Rape is ASSAULT--based on a need for power, domination and control by inflicting humiliation, pain, and fear. Sex is used as a weapon in this instance. Rapists aren't horny men they are criminals.

    If one is going to distribute clean needles to addicts for health reasons, why not give them a room to use the needles in?

    Maybe one day people will realize that banning substances is not the best way to reduce, limit or control it.
    "Fox terriers are born with about four times as much original sin in them as other dogs." - Jerome K. Jerome

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    Stay chooned in for more! Clint's Avatar
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    I mean there are so many these days I'm sure there's one out there that's raped someone because they are a sex addict. Or so that was apparently what happened in my friends case when she was like... hell probably 15.

    In retrospect reading your post, I also don't understand your analogy. A drug user is not the same as a drug addict. A person who drinks is not automatically an alcoholic, a person who has sex is not automatically a sex addict, and all people who gamble are not automatically gambling addicts. IV drug use is not limited to addicts, and while most IV users MAY BE addicts it is not a prerequisite. Speaking of prerequisites, would this facility only cater to IV use? Would you only be able to take cocaine and heroin intravenously and not intranasally? Would this clinic apply to all drugs or only drugs capable of causing an overdose (no mushrooms, pot or acid among other things allowed)? If not, should it?

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    Leave it to San Fransicko.
    "Toto, I've got a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore."

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    Actually this would a perfect place to get them into treatment. If you concentrate the people with a problem, then put a social worker there to help get them into treatment one person can be more effective than 100 people could just canvasing the streets. If you read the article it says British Columbia has seen an increase in the number of people seeking treatment for drug abuse. Thats right this would actually help reduce the problem. Its just like the situation where people give food to homeless people on the street instead of making them go to a mission to get food. By giving them food on the street someone prevents the homeless person from seeing a social worker at the mission who could help get them off the streets if they so desired. By having this room you can have the treatment options for drug addiction right there for the addicts. I think they should build them but they should also keep a social worker available to help get people into treatment if they want to get help for their problem.
    "We're terrible animals. I think that the Earth's immune system is trying to get rid of us, as well it should." - Kurt Vonnegut

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    Quote Originally Posted by JustLikeAPill View Post
    Here's a neat little story I saw on CNN. I think it's a great idea and would save some lives.

    SAN FRANCISCO - City health officials took steps Thursday toward opening the nation's first legal safe-injection room, where addicts could shoot up heroin, cocaine and other drugs under the supervision of nurses.
    Anyone who supports this must be a drug abuser themselves. Building safe havens is only going to spread the abuse of those drugs and screw up more lives! How could any sober person twist this into a positive story ?
    James 1:17

    "Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows."

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