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Philadelphia’s Decision to Open Opioid Injection Centers
The rise in the use of opioids has perplexed many healthcare workers. The United States Department of Health and Human Services has been faced with a dilemma regarding the rising opioid overdose crisis (Peltzer & Pharswana, 2008). The use of opioids has short-term and long term effects. Short-term effects include blackout, constipation, drowsiness, defective breathing, catalepsy and nausea. Continued use of opioids causes long-term effects such as physical dependence, withdrawal syndrome, vomiting, restlessness, tolerance, addiction and death. The use of opioids is the latest deadly epidemic affecting Americans. Public administrators need to make urgent decisions concerning the use of opioids through knowledge dissemination through public participation, treatment and rehabilitation of the affected victims. This paper highlights decision making in light of Philadelphia’s declaration to open supervised injection centers for opioid victims to avert the crisis.
Article in the News
The Independent published an article on Wednesday 24th January 2018 on Philadelphia’s quest to become the first city in the United States of America to open supervised injection centers as a measure of fighting the opioid crisis (Mindock, 2018). According to Philadelphia city officials, the move is meant to do what the Trump administration has failed to do. Philadelphia is the leading city in opioid-related deaths in the United States with overdose deaths amounting to 1,200 mortalities in 2017 alone. The news article states that more Americans died of drug overdose every year than the number of people who died in the Vietnam War.
Takeaways from the Article
- The city officials and the health expert’s decision to provide supervised injection sites could prevent fatalities although it is not the ultimate solution to opioid use.
- Trained professionals would help opioid addicts and respond to any overdoses.
- The professionals would also help by providing clean needles which reduce the spread of deadly diseases like HIV and hepatitis C (Peltzer & Pharswana, 2008).
- The decision would also make it possible for health researchers to have a close watch on the opioid victims and collect data which would help bring lasting solutions (Griffin & Botvin, 2010).
- The decision to create supervised injection centers remains controversial since it may increase the use of drugs instead of helping to combat unfettered drug abuse.
- Experts say that having direct contact between the health workers and drug abusers can help in public participation and lead to better policies which can help in dealing with opioid abuse (Mindock, 2018).
Griffin, K. and Botvin, G. (2010). Evidence-Based Interventions for Preventing Substance Use Disorders in Adolescents. Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Clinics of North America, [online] 19(3), pp.505-526.
Mindock Clark (2018). Someone needs to take the first step’: Philadelphia looks to fight opioid crisis by becoming first US city to open supervised injection centers. Retrieved from http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/philadelphia-opioid-injection-facilities-supervised-addiction-policy-trial-a8176471.html
Peltzer, K. and Pharswana, N. (2008). Alcohol and Drug Abuse Module, 7(3), pp.112-122.