How New York is Dealing with Heroin Addiction – Safe Injection Sites, Arrests
Like many states, New York is currently facing a heroin epidemic. From new legislation to arrests, here are some of the ways in which lawmakers and law enforcement are dealing with the problem.
Officials Calling for Safe Injection Sites for Heroin Users
Linda Rosenthal, D-Manhattan, is an assemblywoman who wishes to introduce legislation which will result in the development of supervised, safe injection sites through the state of New York. The bill would require treatment services, mental health support, and counseling.
Svante Myrick, Mayor of Ithaca, garnered attention in February when he announced his proposal to make his the first city in the U.S. to offer such a program. Heroin users would be allowed to inject while being supervised by a nurse. The intent is to create a safer environment for drug addicts, and them to try and direct them into treatment.
Currently, nearly 100 safe injection sites exist in 10 countries worldwide. California and Maryland are two other states also deliberating on the possibility. In addition, the New State Senate has proposed $167 million in funding to address opioid addiction.
“New York, and nearly every other state across the country, is grappling with a heroin and opioid addiction crisis that has grown to epidemic proportions. Addiction is a public health crisis, and we must address it as such, with aggressive, community-based solutions that reduce harm and provide access to life-saving treatment services.”
Anthony Vita was arrested by the Drug Enforcement Agency in Virginia Beach, Virginia. He is suspected of selling heroin which resulted in the heroin deaths of a 24-year-old woman and her unborn child. He is also faces charges for drug dealing in the Syracuse, New York area.
New York woman Morgan Axe was five months pregnant when her family found her overdosed on heroin, lying next to a syringe and a bag full of the drug.
According to the affidavit, the bag was labeled “king of torts”. The victim’s family allowed the police access to Axe’s iPad. There, they found messages between Axe and Vita. He reportedly said “Call me I got the best of it all” and “They are called the king of torts.”
She replied to Vita, “Are you sure they are good I haven’t used in 5 months having a bad day need something good.”
Vita waived his hearings in Virginia and will be facing charges in upstate New York. If convicted, he could be sentenced to 20 years to life in federal prison.
Sadly, a Reuters/NBC news investigation revealed that in 2013, there were 27,000 babies born addicted to drugs. Also, a recent study found hat from 2000-2007, up to 1 in 5 mothers using Medicaid also engaged in opiate use during pregnancy.
It’s interesting to see the contrast in how New York is handling the heroin problem. On the one hand, they are rounding up dealers and arresting them for murder. I’m not sure that’s really the answer. On the other hand, however, some lawmakers are taking a public health approach to the issue, and a decidedly more liberal position.
~ G. Nathalee Serrels, M.A., Psychology