The Great Smoky Mountain Journal

Staff Reports

Posted: Monday, January 01, 2018 12:29 PM

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Concept of Safe Facilities For Drug Users Drawing Controversy, Criticism Throughout Nation

A concept of safe facilities where drug users go to get high with supervision has sparked controversy throughout the country.

In late January 2017, Seattle and King County announced the creation of two "safe-consumption" sites for drug users in an effort to decrease the number of heroin and opioid overdose deaths in the area.

The Seattle Times reports that the sites are stocked with overdose-reversing drug naloxone and information to try to connect people with addiction treatment centers.

The safe injection sites in Seattle are the first of their kind in the United States, according to the Seattle Times. The facilities have been popular in Europe for decades.

In April, over 100 health care professionals in New York City pushed to convince lawmakers to develop safe places for illegal drug users, aiming to provide a clean and sterile environment for them.

“So people bring their own drugs that they’ve obtained — unfortunately illegally — and bring them into a place where they can use, and then they make referrals to housing, to methadone, to detox,” nurse Liz Evans told CBS2’s Emily Smith.

Dr. Jeffrey Reynolds with the Family and Children’s Association works with drug addicts every day and told CBS2 it’s a concept he says he just can’t get behind.

“We are saying just come on in,” he tells CBS2. “We will even help you put the needle in your arm. So for me, it feels like it goes too far.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control, opioid and heroin overdoses killed more than 52,000 people in 2015 -- more than traffic accidents and homicides combined, CBS2 reported.