The Trump Administration’s Justice Department ignored a mountain of evidence and came out strong against supervised consumption spaces, despite their proven record of reducing overdose deaths and saving lives. In an op-ed in the New York Times, Rod J. Rosenstein, deputy attorney general of the United States, threatened states that are moving forward with this life saving strategy.
The Justice Department’s aggressive stance coincides with California becoming the first state legislature to pass supervised consumption site legislation. The legislation, passed last night, would create a three-year pilot program allowing San Francisco to implement and evaluate supervised drug consumption programs. The bill is off to Governor Jerry Brown and awaits his signature. Governor Jerry Brown has until September 30 to sign or veto the bill.
Listed below are experts from the Drug Policy Alliance who are available for in-studio, remote and phone/Skype interviews to address the momentum for supervised consumption sites in California and New York and the recent attack by the Trump administration.
“The federal government has long been on the wrong side of science and history when it comes to reducing the harms of drug use—whether it be attempts to thwart sterile syringe access, medical and adult-use cannabis, or, now, safe consumption sites,” said Lindsay LaSalle, Senior Staff Attorney at the Drug Policy Alliance. “When we let ideology trump evidence, and prioritize punishment over preserving life, the result is 72,000 preventable deaths just last year. Supervised consumption sites provide an opportunity to reverse the course of this crisis—they have been unequivocally scientifically proven to reduce overdose fatalities, increase entry into treatment, and improve public safety. It is time for the Department of Justice to reverse course too. The gravity of the crisis--and their role in exacerbating it--compels it."
In November 2017, the Drug Policy Alliance released a comprehensive action plan to address increasing rates of opioid use and overdose. The plan marks a radical departure from the punitive responses that characterize much of U.S. drug policy and instead focuses on scientifically proven harm reduction and public health interventions that can improve treatment outcomes and reduce the negative consequences of opioid misuse, such as transmission of infectious diseases and overdose.
August 31, is International Overdose Awareness Day. Advocates around the world will be drawing attention to the overdose crisis and offering up life-saving solutions.