The benefit of supervised injections



December 3, 2019 - 10:07 AM

Volunteers lay down roses, which represent people in Philadelphia who died of drug overdose in 2018, outside the Federal Courthouse in Philadelphia on Sept. 5. (Heather Khalifa/The Philadelphia Inquirer/TNS)

People living in addiction are experts at enabling other people to enable them. Their expertise is part of a survival strategy for the addicted individual and the addiction itself. The fact that the person in addiction desperately needs to believe the lies they tell themselves is why they can lie so well to others.

I say this as a person who did all of the above, and worse, while in alcoholism and addiction. But since Feb. 24, 2007, I have been living in abstinence-based recovery. I’m grateful to be part of a vibrant grassroots community of people for whom helping sustain the sobriety of others is a way to stay sober ourselves.

When I first heard about the notion of a supervised injection site as a way to fight Philly’s opioid epidemic, the approach struck me as high-minded, but hopelessly naive. Of course clients would agree to accept a pamphlet, sign a piece of paper, endure a spiel or say whatever the compassionate folks running the place need to hear. They’d do it simply to have the drug enslaving them tested for contaminants before using it in a setting less risky than the street.

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