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A controversial proposal has surfaced in Ithaca, New York, involving a supervised-use heroin facility that would be the first of its kind in the United States. The mayor of the city, Even Svante L. Myrick, has been hesitant at first to introduce such a proposal, given that the abuse of the drug is staggeringly high in that area of the country, with over a dozen overdoses occurring in just 1.5 weeks. Despite intense protest by a mixture of law enforcement and the community, many however see such an institution as a more practical, modern, and realistic way to approach drug rehab. With a “Four-pillar plan [that] calls for more drug education, both for children and adults; improved mental health screening; a detoxification center; and a methadone clinic”, the monitored use phase of plan would only serve as the first step or pillar.

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An infographic on the number of overdoses annually: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2016/01/07/us/drug-overdose-deaths-in-the-us.html

This proposal has immense support from former heroin addicts who point out that much of the time the biggest problem with trying to stop is being able to get help, and Mr. Myrick is now devoted to providing  “pathways” to treatment. This issue is a many-faceted one, and raises the question: should local and other laws be altered to accommodate such a proposal? Is it amiable to allow an illegal substance to be knowingly distributed under government supervision, and should the U.S. keep their current policies or shift to follow some of Europe’s successful programs like this? Whether or not any changes come about, I think it is beneficial to discuss the problem and I agree “this has been a quiet epidemic for far too long.”

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