Monday, November 20, 2023
HomeHealthy LivingAs fentanyl deaths rise, state legislatures resist 'hurt discount' methodology : NPR

As fentanyl deaths rise, state legislatures resist ‘hurt discount’ methodology : NPR

The Biden administration is embracing healthcare efforts designed to scale back the lethal affect of fentanyl habit — however many state legislatures are resisting the “hurt discount” strategy.


However first, we flip to the fentanyl epidemic. Yesterday Pennsylvania state Senate handed a invoice that might ban supervised drug injection clinics. These are packages that goal to scale back overdose charges. However as fentanyl deaths preserve surging, some state lawmakers nationwide are pushing again in opposition to so-called hurt discount packages. NPR habit correspondent Brian Mann is with us to speak about this backlash. Hello, Brian.


PFEIFFER: Would you first outline hurt discount?

MANN: Yeah. So it takes most individuals experiencing habit, particularly extreme habit with a drug like fentanyl, a very long time to get well. So the objective of hurt discount is to maintain individuals alive and as wholesome as attainable till they’ll get therapy and counseling. The Biden administration has actually been emphasizing this strategy as deaths have soared, making medical care and habit therapy medicines extra extensively obtainable. And a few organizations need to go even additional than the Biden workforce. They’re pushing for packages like supervised drug injection websites, locations the place individuals can use road medicine below medical supervision and get assist in the event that they overdose.

PFEIFFER: And these are very controversial packages. In order we have mentioned, some state legislatures are pushing again. The place is that this occurring?

MANN: Properly, we’re seeing bipartisan discomfort with these concepts everywhere in the U.S. In Philadelphia, the place greater than 1,200 individuals a yr are dying from overdoses, there is a group known as Protected Home. They have been negotiating with the U.S. Justice Division, hoping to open certainly one of these clinics. However Democratic state lawmaker Christine Tartaglione, who represents part of Philadelphia hit laborious by drug habit, launched a invoice that might ban this type of clinic. Right here she is talking with WHYY.

CHRSTINE TARTAGLIONE: My constituents don’t want secure injection websites within the neighborhood. I feel it permits habit. We ought to be within the enterprise of getting these of us therapy.

MANN: Now, many years of analysis contradict that argument that these clinics allow drug use. However the ban handed the state Senate this week in Pennsylvania by a large margin with bipartisan help – nonetheless has to make its method via the State Home. I ought to say state lawmakers in Colorado additionally not too long ago voted down a measure that might have allowed comparable supervised injection websites.

PFEIFFER: Past pushback to those websites, are state lawmakers attempting to restrict different forms of hurt discount?

MANN: Yeah. Yeah. They are surely. West Virginia has made it a lot more durable for communities to open needle change packages which might be confirmed to assist scale back the unfold of illnesses like HIV/AIDS. In Idaho, lawmakers not too long ago handed a measure to restrict federal funding for Narcan or naloxone. This can be a drug confirmed to reverse opioid overdoses. I spoke about this development with Ronda Goldfein. She’s on the board of Protected Home. That is the group that wishes to open the supervised drug use clinic in Philadelphia. She says it is irritating that lawmakers are backing away from public well being methods which may save lives.

RONDA GOLDFEIN: We’re in an overdose disaster. The secure method to proceed is to actually take a look at all the choices and never simply rule issues out as a result of it does not appear proper.

MANN: And one different a part of this development, Sacha, is state legislatures, Nevada being the newest, which might be pushing a lot harder felony penalties, together with obligatory jail time, for individuals caught with even actually small quantities of fentanyl.

PFEIFFER: And, Brian, why are states transferring on this extra conservative path?

MANN: Properly, there are such a lot of deaths, 80,000 fentanyl deaths now a yr, extra individuals battling habit. It is turn out to be a political flashpoint. I spoke about this with Kendra Neumann. She’s a drug coverage analyst at a nonpartisan group known as the Colorado Well being Institute. She says there’s actually a contest underway over the way to strategy this habit disaster.

KENDRA NEUMANN: You already know, individuals have felt for the reason that pandemic that there have been rising crime charges. Homelessness in Colorado specifically has turn out to be extra seen. And lots of people affiliate that with drug use. And I feel that has simply heightened the dialog about overdoses and about drug use.

MANN: Specialists I talked to, Sacha, say stress on state lawmakers to maintain getting harder on fentanyl – it is solely going to develop as we head into subsequent yr’s election season.

PFEIFFER: NPR’s Brian Mann. Thanks.

MANN: Thanks.

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