Assembly Alcoholism and Drug Abuse chair calls on NYC to release safer consumption site study

Photo via Wikipedia Commons
A safe-injection site in Vancouver, British Columbia. A report on establishing safer consumption sites for drug users in New York City is expected soon.

The Chair of the Assembly Committee on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse, Linda Rosenthal, D-Manhattan, is calling on New York City officials to release a study that could prove the effectiveness of potential safer consumption sites in the Big Apple.

According to Rosenthal, the report has been “long overdue” and has the potential to change the city’s stance on safer consumption sites — places where opioid drug users can go to use their pre-obtained drugs under doctor supervision. Sites like these already operate across Europe, and in an unofficial capacity, in the city. In recent months, Rosenthal and advocacy groups such as End Overdose New York have been working to create safer consumption sites in New York State.

“I stand in solidarity with the public health advocates and survivors who are fighting to save the lives of thousands of New Yorkers struggling with substance use disorder to urge the city to release its SCS feasibility study,” Rosenthal said.

The study, conducted by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, is thought to address the feasibility and impact of safer consumption sites in high risk neighborhoods.

Although the study, which was funded by a $100,000 appropriation from the City Council, had been slated for completion by late February or early March. However, it has yet to be released despite repeated messages from Mayor Bill De Blasio that it would be released soon.

Rosenthal sees the delay as cause for concern.

“People are not feeling confident that the mayor will release the study,” she said.

When contacted by The Legislative Gazette, a spokeswoman for the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, said the supervised injection facility feasibility study will be published “shortly.”