ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – In response to New York’s drug overdose crisis, a group of healthcare professionals and public health advocates are launching a statewide campaign, calling for safe injection sites.
Organizers say they really want people to understand that they’re goal is to keep people safe from an overdose, not to encourage it. To make their message clear, they’re kicking off a 10-day informational tour on Wednesday in Albany.
It may seem like a counter-intuitive solution to solving New York’s overdose problem by giving addicts a space to legally consume drugs while supervised by health professionals.
“I understand it’s like any other new idea, people are going to have concerns about it, especially fi it’s this different,” Keith Brown, of the Katal Center for Health Equity and Justice, said.
For those pushing for safe consumption sites, it makes perfect sense.
“It’s a way of bringing this behavior out of places where we don’t want it and linking people with services and treating them like human beings.”
Brown hopes introducing people in the Capital Region to these safe drug use sites will calm any concerns they have.
“If people were to do a tour of one of these spaces it would really de-mystify it, it would make it a lot less scary for people.”
New York Senator George Amedore is against the idea.
“I think the taxpayers of the state of New York would be outraged to know that their tax money is being used to fund these heroin addiction centers. There’s a lot of safe places where they can go right now.”
Sen. Amedore believes there are other, more effective solutions.
“In the state Senate we eight different bills that address addiction to heroin or other synthetic addictive drugs and substances. I believe it is the wrong solution to encourage someone who is bound by addiction.”
Brown says there is no data to support that providing a space would encourage people to use drugs more.
“We want people to get better, that’s why we’re doing this. It’s why we’re advocating for as many approaches as possible.”
Pop up informational sessions start on Wednesday for elected officials at the Albany Convention Center.
A public exhibit will be put on display Thursday at the UAlbany Campus Center from 1 to 5 p.m.