Are Safe Injection Sites in Chicago the Next Step?
Opioids have been a growing concern in the United States as more and more people are becoming addicted, and a rising number of overdoses from these drugs are occurring.
The result is an opioid epidemic that local, state, and national government entities are trying to mitigate with new solutions. With more progress still to be made, safe injection sites have been a growing topic of debate.
What Are Safe Injection Sites?
Safe injection sites, also known as overdose prevention centers or supervised injection sites, are locations where intravenous drug users can go to safely administer their drugs under the supervision of a medical professional. The idea behind these sites is that someone who is trained to handle overdoses is present to provide immediate medical attention in the case of an emergency. Along with providing supervision for injections, these facilities often provide other social services as well such as education, needle exchanges, and recommendations for substance abuse treatment programs in the area.
The goal of the sites is to reduce the number of overdoses, decrease the cases of injection-related health problems, and ultimately to get these drug users help for their addiction. Research shows that they are successful. The presence of safe injection sites significantly decreases the number of fatal overdoses, results in fewer ambulance calls for overdoses by 67%, lowers the number of HIV cases in the area, and increases the likelihood that a user will enter opioid addiction treatment of some kind.1,2
Chicago Safe Injection Sites
While safe injection sites can be found in places across Canada, the United States has yet to open one. Philadelphia is the first city in the country to push for one of these facilities but ran into some roadblocks along the way. After a legal battle, safe injection sites were ruled legal, and Philadelphia is in the process of opening the country’s first.
Some people are suggesting that Chicago follow suit. Like many cities around the country, Chicago has been largely impacted by the opioid epidemic. The number of overdose deaths from opioids in the Windy City increased from 111 in 2015 to a stunning 461 in 2017.3 In a matter of just two years, this number more than tripled and may continue to increase without more action. Because of this high number, safe injection sites in Chicago may be a viable new solution.
As a Chicago drug rehab, we have seen how these drugs have affected our community. Too many lives are being lost, and it is time to make a change. If you or someone you love is addicted to drugs or alcohol, take the first step to getting your life back before it is too late.
Alyssa is Banyan’s Director of Digital Marketing & Technology. After overcoming her own struggles with addiction, she began working in the treatment field in 2012. She graduated from Palm Beach State College in 2016 with additional education in Salesforce University programs. A part of the Banyan team since 2016, Alyssa brings over 5 years of experience in the addiction treatment field.
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