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Safe injection sites save money but also they saves lives.

Philadelphia has, for decades, had a reputation of being a major heroin haven on the East Coast, with its heroin being of such high quality that people purposely moved there for that purpose alone. In recent years with the opiate epidemic steadily getting worse, this reputation only grew more steadily — and then dropped off with the introduction of fentanyl analogues such as acetylfentanyl, butyrfentanyl, and carfentanil (drugs whose names correspond to their chemical formula that are dozens to hundreds of times more potent than morphine) into the heroin supply. Nevertheless, people still swarm to Philadelphia in droves. Puerto Rico drops its heroin addicts off into Philadelphia and people from the surrounding counties and states still come to the city seeking its once-legendary (and now extinct) pure fix. With all of these people going to the city seeking an almost mythical fix that’s been tainted with chemicals humans can’t even consume, it’s not a surprise that the number of fatal and nonfatal overdoses in the city has risen to astonishing and record-breaking numbers. From sidewalks and convenience store bathrooms to buses and trains and even the basements and bedrooms of their parents and partners, overdoses are happening and killing addicts and leaving wounds in the hearts of their loved ones. Those who are lucky to survive a serious overdose are left changed by the experience. My most serious overdose convinced me that I needed recovery again, after relapsing with three years clean. Yet, overdoses may not be enough to convince some addicts that they need to seek recovery. And, honestly, that’s okay, there’s nothing wrong with not getting it the first time. Addiction isn’t a rational or reasonable thing, it’s a mental illness that often accompanies other mental illnesses. People who have experience with addiction or with addicts know this about us — they know that many of us simply don’t understand that we have a problem and that we often don't know that we need help until we’ve reached our bottom. For those who don’t know, a “bottom” is a point where people with substance abuse issues realize that we have a problem and hit an emotional, physical, financial, or social wall in our lives. It’s the point where we realize that we’ve, in some way, destroyed our lives in one way or another. Reaching a bottom can take months or it can take years. My first bottom came after years of using and drinking, but my second came only after a few months of using after my relapse. Each person is different.
Related: STOP STIGMATIZING HOW WE RECOVER FROM DRUG ADDICTION

Sex addiction is a serious mental illness that makes the lives of people who suffer from it difficult.

[TW: sexual assault and addiction] Kevin Spacey and Harvey Weinstein, among dozens of other powerful men, are being exposed for  sexually harassing and abusing people. Each have left a trail of victims and tears. Survivors of their violence have come forward and risked either their careers, a peaceful life, their privacy, or all three to speak up. It takes courage for a survivor of sexual violence, whether they’re victims of famous people or not, to speak their experiences. To name and challenge your abuser is to upend your life and risk any semblance of peace you may have. For the first time, powerful men are being held accountable for their actions. Harvey Weinstein has been stripped of his positions and some of his power; Kevin Spacey has lost roles and House of Cards may go on without him. They’ve lost their shine across the globe. Further, they may even get criminally charged for their actions. To be expected, though, they’ve tried to trigger their own redemption arcs. In their effort to make themselves look like hapless victims, what they’ve done is try to hide behind the very real issue of sexual addiction. Sexual addiction is a serious mental illness that makes the lives of people who suffer from it difficult. In fact, research has shown that the brains of the sexually addicted when exposed to sexual stimuli, were seen to “light up” in the same way that the brains of drug addicts lit up when they used drugs, despite no chemicals being used in the study. But what these men have done is turned it into a justification for sexual abuse and violence, when previously it had been stigmatized as a joke among men and a “daddy issue” amongst women.
Related: STOP STIGMATIZING HOW WE RECOVER FROM DRUG ADDICTION

We need more effective treatment.

President Trump just declared the opioid epidemic a “public health emergency”. I don’t need to define what a public health emergency is, but it means that the abuse of opioids and the overdoses that follow have reached a critical mass. The bodies are stacking up, as ghoulish as it is to describe it that way. Families are torn apart: children are losing their parents, parents are burying their children, grandchildren dying years before their grandparents. And I, myself, am a survivor of polysubstance addiction, meaning I was addicted to multiple substances including painkillers (like Dilaudid) and heroin. I’ve overdosed 5 times. And 3 out of the 5 times, I woke up in a hospital bed. The other two times, I ended up coming out of it myself — scaring my friends in the process. I’ve also known many who have overdosed and died. One of my friends, Brianna (I changed her name to protect her memory), died when the opiate crisis was beginning, around the same time Phillip Seymour Hoffman died. More recently, my friend Paul Yabor fell to this insidious disease.
Related: STOP STIGMATIZING HOW WE RECOVER FROM DRUG ADDICTION

Whether or not one ascribes to the disease theory of addiction, the fact remains that human lives – all human lives – have value and all humans deserve to live.

By Princess Harmony In America’s Rust Belt–a geographical area hit hardest first by poverty and then by the heroin and fentanyl epidemics–a city councilman proposed an idea so cruel that it feels like it could have come out of a bad parody of America. To save money on ambulances and other emergency services, Middletown, Ohio City councilman Dan Picard, proposed a Narcan three-strikes rule. Narcan is a medicine used to reverse the effects of opiate/opioid overdoses. This proposal, he claimed, would save the city money by abandoning people who “didn’t care about their own lives”. In other words, if you overdosed on heroin, fentanyl, or similar drugs, you’d only have Narcan administered to you twice. The third time, you’d be left to die if you didn’t have anyone around you who could administer it to you.
Related: DRUG ABUSE ISN’T KILLING PEOPLE — THE STIGMA OF MENTAL HEALTH IS

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