NEW YORK (CBSNewYork)– Heroin users might someday be heading to your neighborhood to get high, without breaking the law to do it.
A New York lawmaker is pushing for legalized injection facilities, making it possible for heroin junkies to shoot up if the legislation goes through.
“I wouldn’t want it in my neighborhood, people who are using drugs propose an element of risk and crime,” Upper West Side resident Michael Schwerd told CBS2’s Ilana Gold.
He’s not the only one that’s skeptical.
“I don’t know what their high is and what they would be doing and if they could be dangerous to people,” Upper East Side resident Roberta Kaplan said.
Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal, who represents the Upper West Side, is planning to introduce legislation for supervised injection facilities partially funded by the state. This would enable drug users to get high while medical staff closely watch over them.
“They’re going to shoot up wherever they are, they need their fix, this is to put them in a safe place and connect them with services that will help them get rid of their addiction,” Rosenthal said.
Rosenthal said these facilities would prevent overdoses because of supervision and help addicts recover because they’ll have access to treatment. She also told CBS2 the supervision would protect the public from being exposed to drugs on the street.
“You often see people shooting up on subways, in public restrooms, playgrounds, leaving people exposed to needles drug paraphernalia,” she said.
Rosenthal said the idea is so new that it’s unclear where the possible locations would be. There are none in the U.S, but she said similar programs have been successful in Europe and Canada.
The mayor of Ithaca is also pushing for a facility upstate, but it’s something many lawmakers call dangerous and some drug counselors strongly oppose.
“There is no way to use heroin safely. It kills families, it kills communities, and it’s been destroying the New York state area,” Warren Zysman, of the ACI Drug Addiction Treatment Center, told CBS2.
Rosenthal is still drafting legislation and said she’ll propose the bill to the assembly in the next few months.