The SACHR Blog
Helping Drug Users Help Themselves
Reflecting on 30 years of working with the HIV population in the Bronx, we look at the challenges facing that community and the future of HIV/AIDS.
In 2017, the Bronx suffered the highest rate and number of deaths from drug overdoses of all the New York City boroughs. Last year, the city opened drug courts in the Bronx in an attempt to combat the opioid crisis. While it is true that drug courts represent a different approach than the traditional model, many of the most harmful trademarks of how our justice system treats drug users are preserved. Let’s take a look into what drug courts are, how they work, and why they will not help.
Whether or not one supports the disease model of addiction, it seems remarkable that the government is admitting in no uncertain terms that they are criminalizing the very people they claim are ill.
The prohibition of opioids in the United States has been raging for almost a century. The Anti-Heroin Act of 1924 began the criminalization of importing and possessing opioids. Now, after countless people have been imprisoned and an immeasurable amount of money and resources have spent, we are in the midst of an opioid epidemic. Each year, the number of fatal opioid overdoses rises, with the CDC’s estimates for 2017 reaching a record 72,000 deaths. Let us be very clear: these are preventable deaths. Through legislative change and the implementation of proven harm reduction strategies, we have the option to adopt a drug policy based on compassion and evidence-based results rather than on punishment and propaganda.
Google has a long list of business categories, but syringe access locations are missing. Changing this will help save lives, reduce the spread of HIV, and improve public health.
Why is the United States ignoring one of the most effective strategies against the Opioid Crisis?