New Jersey lawmakers are considering a proposal to allow the state Department of Health to open four safe-injection sites where drug addicts could shoot up without fear of arrest.
Roseanne Scotti, the director of the New Jersey Drug Policy Alliance, said these locations, also called overdose prevention centers or safe consumption rooms, are needed because the opioid overdoes epidemic continues to spiral out of control.
“We lost more than 3,000 people last year, so this is another attempt to bring people in out of the shadows and get them the help that they need and keep them safe,” she said last week. “Dead people don’t recover.”
Rather than having people with a substance abuse disorder getting high in back alleys or alone in their cars, she said “they could go and use the drugs they already have and there would be medical personnel there to make sure that they don’t overdose and to offer them access to treatment and other social services.”
There are about 120 overdose prevention centers around the world. There are none in this country, but several states, including New York, are considering the idea.
The centers would provide clean syringes and disinfecting wipes in order to avoid the spread of HIV and hepatitis C.
Medical personnel would have Narcan to revive anyone who overdosed, in addition to treating any other emergency.