In an attempt to minimize the deaths from substance abuse, a new California bill, which has cleared the State Assembly and is expecting clearance on the Senate floor, may pave the way for the opening of statewide centers, where people can inject heroin in a safe and hygienic way. On the lines of a monitored drug injection center in Vancouver, British Columbia, Bill AB-186 would make the state of California the first-of-its-kind to allow the use of illegal drugs in designated areas.
However, experts feel that if the proposed bill became a law, it would come in conflict with the federal law, which prohibits the use of illegal substances or even renting out spaces to use them. The ongoing drug addiction and overdose crisis, which has engulfed the country, shows no signs of abating. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), reported 4,659 overdose deaths in 2015 in California alone, reflecting a 33 percent surge compared to the previous decades. According to Susan Eggman, a Stockton Democrat and the co-writer of the bill, “We have an opioid epidemic. We have a public health crisis. We have traditionally treated addiction as a criminal issue and that has failed. We need to treat it as the public health issue that it is.” San Francisco, which has borne the brunt of the overdose crisis in the recent years, is reportedly serious about the initiative with the Department of Public Health setting up a safe injection services task force to take the idea to the next level.
AB-186 would permit the eight counties of San Francisco, Los Angeles, Fresno, Humboldt, Alameda, Mendocino, Santa Cruz and San Joaquin to authorize the monitored drug injection sites. These centers would need to make certain that there is a constant supply of clean syringes and first aid kits to reverse overdoses. In addition, they will need to ensure the availability of health care staff for professional counseling. Above all, the visitors to these clinics would be shielded from all kinds of criminal charges for using illegal substances, but only at these designated places.
Heroin addiction is increasing among young Americans
The renowned English singer, songwriter and actor, David Bowie once said, “Heroin addiction is like driving a car with the steering going out. You eventually resign yourself to the inevitability of what’s going to happen.” Undoubtedly, in most of the cases, studies show that the use of opioid-based painkillers, such as OxyContin, is the gateway to heroin addiction, as once hooked onto painkillers or other prescription opioids, many people automatically switch over to heroin, which is cheaper.
Moreover, both, heroin and prescription opioids have identical chemical structures and attach themselves to the same class of receptors in the brain, temporarily inhibiting the brain’s reaction to pain. Popularly known as “China white,” “smack” and “dope”, the highly addictive nature of America’s most widely abused drug, is wreaking havoc in the lives of younger Americans, particularly adolescents. Apart from ease of availability, there are various other reasons, which not only encourage the youth to try heroin, but also plunge them into the clutches of an addiction:
- Scarcity of information: Both opioid and heroin abuse are attributed to the paucity of information about the perils of abuse of these substances. Most people rely on peers and friends, who claim to be authentic sources of information on different recreational drugs, for any kind of information.
- Impact of popular media: Research has revealed that most teens feel that television shows and Hollywood movies package drugs like a harmless “cool” thing. Moreover, imitating their favorite actors or singers seems to be in vogue, thus, encouraging substance abuse.
- Pressure from peers: Teenagers and young adults see many people engaging in substance abuse and may give in to the urge of experimenting with them. Eventually, any easy-to-obtain drug becomes the drug of preference.
- Instantaneous gratification: Drugs such as heroin produce instant effects, triggering euphoric sensations, and many view such experiences as a shortcut to utopia.
- Mechanism of self-medication: One’s early years are often full of challenges and frustrations. Therefore, without a trusted confidant or an outlet to vent their woes, substances such as heroin, become a route to escape.
Heroin addiction can be treated
Studies show that many people, including in America, fall prey to an addiction faster than they might ever realize. The only way to break free from the shackles of the drug is to undergo a customized heroin addiction treatment program at a reputed heroin addiction rehab to combat the devastating effects of the drug.
Sovereign Health understands the misery of someone who is unable to put an end to the use of deadly drugs despite the damaging consequences on his or her life. Our customized heroin addiction recovery plans at Sovereign Health of San Clemente are designed to treat the person holistically.
If you or your loved one is battling an addiction to heroin, call our 24/7 helpline number or chat online to know more about our state-of-the-art heroin treatment centers spread across the U.S.