Democrats Suggest Supervised Injection Sites to End Drug Overdose Deaths

supervised injection sites

As the 2020 elections are nearing, the Democratic candidates are focusing more on the controversial policies that they have put in place. With the raging opioid epidemic in the country, several states are considering to open supervised injection sites, the calls of which have largely been rejected by the government.

The Democratic hopefuls, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren have thereby argued that once they win the upcoming elections, they would bring in policies that would stop the drug overdoses.

Continuing with their calls to bring in proper facilities in terms of healthcare legislation, both Democratic presidential candidates endorsed supervised injection sites this week. The move conflicts with the federal government’s objections, which claims that these sites normalize drug use and are illegal under federal law. 

Against the Democrats’ plans, the Trump administration has threatened to sue all the future developed supervised injection sites throughout US. As of now, the government is suing to block the “Safehouse”, a very first attempt to introduce injection sites in Philadelphia, which had been previously sued by the Department of Justice before being opened in February.

Despite the government’s attempts, the critics have claimed that these sites would curb the overdose deaths in the US, alongside the availability of accurate staff for providing medical personnel. They argued that supervised injection sites in other countries were proven successful in many ways. Canada being one of the countries, observed fewer overdoses deaths and less HIV infections with the introduction of these sites.

These sites would also promote awareness amongst people, discouraging them from sharing needles and potentially spreading diseases.

Favoring the Democrats’ attempt in putting forth the idea of supervised injection sites as successful interventions, Lindsay LaSelle, director of public health law and policy with the Drug Policy Alliance, said, “For a presidential candidate to come out and publicly support it, particularly when the administration has a very public stance against it is significant.”

The opening of supervised injection sites has become a huge issue in the entire country, with leaders giving mixed responses. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren have accepted the sites in their criminal justice reform plans.

Upon winning the elections, Sanders plans to legalize safe injection sites and needle exchanges around the country, and support pilot programs for supervised injection sites, which would reduce drug overdose deaths. While Elizabeth Warren claimed that she would “support evidence-based safe injection sites and needle exchanges and expand the availability” of drugs that prevent opioid overdoses. 

As many US states are waiting for the outcome of Philadelphia opening the supervised injection sites, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren are willing to go against the government’s existing policies. Many favoring the sites said that it would support in avoiding deaths due to overdose, while there are several others who are willing to consider different ways to end the problem.

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