Photo: Lori Van Buren, Albany Times Union
ALBANY – "After taking a moment of silence," Keith Brown told the group that sits on top of the West Capitol Park Stair cowered. we'll break it by saying her name – the name of the person you love who is over here because of an overdose.
There would be no shortage of names as the death toll continues: a record 72,000 Americans died of drug overdose last year, 10 percent more than the year before, and at least in New York for the seventh year in a row In which the number of overdose deaths rose.
The names went on – some said shyly, others proudly, others huskier than a voice croaked and hot tears fell – all reminded the speaker why they had been on a long weekend this Friday – there were about 50 of them: friends, family members and lawyers sitting side by side in the State Capitol at the International Overdose Awareness Day to ask Gov Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders to prevent further deaths.
"These are people who are no longer here, not because they are bad people and not because they are bad said Brown, whose charitable organization, the Katal Center for Health, Justice and Justice, advocates for harm reduction ("any positive change") Illegal Drug Use
"We know that bad politics and bad public health and the poor decisions of our federal, state and local government agencies are largely responsible for many of these deaths, "he said. "These people did not have to die."
While New York has taken steps to combat a drug-addicted part of opioids – by tightening its prescribing program, expanding the types of health professionals who can prescribe and remove addiction medicine – restrictions on hospitals to provide detoxification services – Proponents say it's not nearly enough to dent the rapidly rising death toll from drugs.
According to preliminary estimates the CDC released earlier this month, the fastest-growing drug category to contribute to overdose deaths in 2017 did not have heroin but powerful synthetic opioids such as fentanyl, which brought from China to heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine and marijuana are kidnapped.
Several measures could curb the public health crisis, advocating saying, including the widespread availability of the overdose-reversal drug, naloxone, and an extension of pre-shutdown programs – as is currently the case in Albany, which grants law enforcement a discretion Drug addicts who have committed a minor offense are more likely to be tied to services than to prison.
Universal access to drug-based treatment could have the greatest impact, many argue, especially if it were so provided in prisons, prisons and hospitals. Such treatment recommended by addiction physicians is controversial, as opioid reduction drugs such as buprenorphine and methadone are themselves opioids – only weaker and without the high-producing effects.
If they keep someone alive and help them lead a productive life – as many people say when they recover from opioid use – they do not – that should not matter, say advocates.
"I have much to thank," said 56-year-old Christopher Evans of Schenectady, who enrolled in a methadone clinic in Albany more than two years ago.
It took several months, even after the methadone, to break down heroin while he waited for his dosage to adjust to the lifetime he had used drugs, he said. In his later years he abused drugs to cope with the pain of losing a daughter to cancer, he said. After getting used to the methadone, he can give heroin and regain his self-esteem, volunteers today in the clinic.
"I do not know where I would be without abandoning myself to the program," he said.
One of the most controversial initiatives against which harm-harm experts continue to struggle are safe points of consumption – legally sanctioned facilities where someone, with the help of trained personnel, can consume already-received drugs with clean equipment. Such locations exist in Canada and Europe, and have been shown to prevent deaths while connecting people with services and addiction treatment when they are ready.
The mayor of New York, Bill de Blasio, has agreed this spring to a plan to open four such sites as part of a pilot program, but the initiative needs to go further.
"You can not say: 'I'm so sorry people show up in the park and say,' I'm not open to safe consumption rooms," Brown said. You can not say, 'We're tired of picking up people when they come out of Stewart's bathroom and saying,' No, safer consumption rooms are a bridge too far. ' "