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Wednesday, May 31, 2023

New York approves bill legalizing the Center for Overdose Prevention

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New York Senate Committee Bill passed Authorization to establish a state-approved Overdose Prevention Center (or OPC, also referred to as Supervised Consumption Sites or Safer Consumption Spaces). The safest consumption spaces for illegal drug use are medically supervised. The legislation, Senate Bill S399A (Enacting Safer Consumption Services Act, or SCSA), would require the New York State Department of Health to authorize at least one supervised consumption location. While OPCs do existThis law will make it easier for harm reduction workers to do their jobs and strengthen the work that is already happening.

New York City opened its first city-licensed safe consumption sites in late 2021. The advanced legislation would provide a sterile environment for people to use previously obtained substances (they won’t provide any to you), giving them a safe alternative to bathrooms or other frequented locations. In addition, the Prevention Center will also keep medical personnel on site to ensure that people administer the drug more safely. These locations also provide a protection not available when the drug is used in an unmonitored establishment, as medical personnel will be on hand to properly treat any overdose. Naloxone would be for reversing opioid overdoses at the safest site of consumption. On-site staff will also educate participants about safer consumption practices and information about the treatment. While the site can collect aggregate data about its participants and their experiences, participants and employees of the Safer Consumption site will have immunity from prosecution for sanctionable activities.

For some history, in 2015, IDUHA (the Injecting Drug Users Health Alliance) issued a memorandum essentially directing harm reduction agencies to act on the assumption that people who use their bathrooms are likely to use opioids and are therefore at risk of overdose, the harm reduction factor explains. in the city High times. However, most agencies have a policy whereby anyone using the bathroom is subject to a knock on the door every few minutes, and staff can access the bathroom and provide overdose support (including naloxone breaths, rescue breaths, and EMS communication) when the passenger is unresponsive. “On average, my team responds to about one overdose a month in our bathroom, with several uses a day not resulting in an overdose. We have to wait until someone stops breathing and stops responding to a knock on the door, and at that The point is he probably wasn’t breathing for several minutes.” “SCSA is an important bill because it recognizes the work that is already happening—harm reduction workers, people who use drugs, and their peers are already on the front lines of the overdose crisis.”

The Senate Health Committee passed the harm reduction legislation from Sen. Gustavo Rivera (D) in a vote on Tuesday, and it will now be referred to the Finance Committee for consideration. The association’s companion edition of SCSA, sponsored by association member Linda Rosenthal (D), cleared the Chamber’s Health Committee in March.

“Harm reduction works. Harm reduction is a method — a way of dealing with a case that assumes, first, that a person using drugs is a person, and that they should be met wherever they are,” Rivera said at the hearing. “Second fact, criminalization didn’t work.” .

“Over the decades of the drug war, we have clearly lost said war,” he continues. “The notion that we can stop our way out of addiction — that we can stop our way out of overdoses and deaths — has been proven to be a lie based on all these years of experience. Criminalization doesn’t work.”

It marks a milestone in the history of harm reduction. “Today, the Senate acknowledged the dire state New York is in due to the overdose crisis and failed War on Drugs era policies,” advocacy group Vocal-NY he said in a press release on Tuesday. “New York is one step closer to seeing overdose prevention centers licensed across the state,” explained the group’s user union leaders. “The legislature needs to keep up the momentum and pass the Safe Consumption Services Act from both houses by the end of the session.”

However, the damage limiting factor in New York City High times I spoke with explains that this bill may simply secure what is already there, thanks to the hard work of passionate harm reduction groups. “All OPC will be put into harm reduction agencies that are already in place. In a very real way, the bill won’t change much. Last week I went to Albany with a group of VOCAL-NY workers and participants, housing business, and OnPoint to speak to lawmakers who have yet to sign. when we met [New York State Senator] We do, we do, she told Tim Kennedy’s Legislative Director, but because we can’t admit it, we have to keep the bathroom door closed. Let’s leave the door open – that’s all we ask.”

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