What to do if You’re Furloughed and Need Treatment

This is an extremely uncertain time for a lot of people around the nation right now. What can make this time even more challenging is if you find yourself struggling with substance use disorder and in-need of treatment, but you’ve been furloughed or laid off by your employer. Perhaps you’ve been thinking about seeking treatment for some time now, but your job has been a barrier. If you’re currently furloughed this may be the best time for you to enter treatment for substance abuse.

Step One – Do you still have insurance?
Some employers are offering to continue health insurance coverage even during the layoff period. If you have a Human Resources department, reach out to them to find out what’s happening with your insurance. If you don’t have a Human Resources department or contact, reach out to your supervisor to find out who is best to speak with about your health insurance options. You do not need to disclose to anyone that you are seeking substance abuse treatment, you’re just collecting basic information about your health insurance benefits, which is your right to know as an employee.

Step Two – What if I don’t have insurance during the furlough?
If your employer informs you that they won’t be continuing health insurance coverage during the furlough, ask them about the option to COBRA your current policy. COBRA is a benefit that allows employees to continue health insurance coverage after leaving employment. To find out your eligibility for COBRA, ask your employer if they can provide you with information in how to apply for this benefit. Most employers automatically mail the information to you, but if you ask ahead of time, they might be able to expedite the information to get it to you sooner.
In addition to COBRA, you can also look into a Marketplace insurance policy to cover you until you return to work. Check out https://www.healthcare.gov/ to view the options available in the marketplace.

Step Three – Finding a Treatment Provider
For more information on how to find a good treatment center, check out previous blog that outlines useful information here. The main takeaway from the blog is that looking for a quality treatment provider is important. The blog outlines what characterizes a treatment center as quality, and some important things to look for in your search.

Step Four – GO
If you’re considering substance abuse treatment and you’re furloughed from work, right now is the best time to seek help. Do not wait. The withdrawal and detox process can be very complicated, uncomfortable and potentially life-threatening. It’s important to seek treatment in order to have medical and addiction professionals monitor your symptoms and help you navigate what you’re experiencing. You may feel alone and isolated already due to the pandemic, but the fact is that you don’t have to be alone, and in this time you shouldn’t be. Addiction treatment is open and available and if you’re willing, now is a better time to go than ever.
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What To Say on a Sober Anniversary

If you are grateful for a friend or family member that is celebrating a sober anniversary, then be sure to let them know. This sounds simple enough, but it is not always the case. Letting people close to you know that you are proud of them for celebrating a milestone in recovery can really help the recovering person in more ways than you may imagine.
There are many ways to show you care for the person who is celebrating a sober anniversary. Finding the right way for that person is up to you, but here are some suggestions for what to say on a sober anniversary and also various ways to show you care.

Why Sober Anniversaries Are Important
An anniversary in recovery can be a pretty big event for the person who is celebrating. Many people in recovery may refer to their sober anniversary as being more important than their own birthday. Typically, this can be the case if the person who is celebrating is very proud of the accomplishment and may also be due to the fact that they could feel more gratitude in their life than when they previously recognized their own birthdays in the past. For example, the person who is celebrating a sober anniversary may only have memories of being very intoxicated on their birthdays prior to getting sober, so it is only natural that their anniversary may represent celebrating life sober.

Attending or Planning Your Own Sober Event
Some simple ways to say that you are proud of someone on their sober anniversary is to make sure that you are present for whatever way they are celebrating. If this means that they are speaking at a local 12-step meeting or other support group, then choosing to attend whether you are in recovery or not is an appropriate way of showing appreciation for the person. Another way to show that you are proud would be to plan a small party or dinner for the celebration. One obvious suggestion is to be mindful of where the event was going to be scheduled, preferably not a bar or other venue where alcohol may be the focus.

How To Show You Care
Another simple way to say that you care for the person celebrating an anniversary in recovery is to give them a card or just let them know in person that you are proud. If attending a speaking engagement where the sober person is sharing their experience, it is also usually appropriate to bring flowers, a cake or even balloons for the person. If you feel moved enough to speak yourself, you can probably even do that.
The biggest part about showing that you care is to make sure you get your point across to the person on their anniversary date. Showing up, speaking up and being a part of a person’s anniversary celebration is a huge way of saying to someone that you care about their recovery and the sober person they have become.
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Benzo Detox during COVID-19 Crisis

We already know that active addiction is isolating, let alone struggling with addiction in a national emergency on-lock down. If you’re in this type of situation, like most of the country, you might be struggling even more than usual with feelings of depression, anxiety, restlessness, and increased cravings or withdrawal symptoms. If you’re currently experiencing withdrawal from benzodiazepines or worried that you will be experiencing withdrawal symptoms, it’s important that you reach out for help right away.

The Dangers of Withdrawal Alone
Withdrawal from benzos is not only uncomfortable mentally and physically, but it is also potentially life-threating. Some of the severe symptoms that can come along with benzo withdrawal include hallucinations, seizures, psychosis or psychotic reactions and increased risk of suicidal ideation. Some other common symptoms include anxiety, panic attacks, heart palpitations, muscular stiffness or discomfort and hand tremors.

Why A Medically Managed Detox is Important
In order to effectively and safely detox from benzodiazepines, it’s important that a licensed treatment provider is involved in the process in order to prescribe the appropriate medications, take vitals, and address any adverse symptoms that may present while detoxing. A doctor can prescribe medications that can help alleviate the symptoms of withdrawal in order to provide more comfort to the individual. Without these medications, the detox process can be very challenging, uncomfortable and harmful.

Navigating Coronavirus Restrictions
Treatment providers are continuing to provide care to those in need of treatment and are engaging in admissions screening processes to assess risk prior to admission. By doing this, they can ensure that people that are in need of services are still able to access those services in a safe way. If you’re worried about whether or not you’ll be able to get into treatment due to COVID-19 restrictions, just reach out and ask about the protocol around admission. Substance Abuse Treatment is considered an essential service, as your or your loved one’s life is essential. In order to keep yourself safe prior to admission, be sure to follow the recommendations from the CDC and WHO on social distancing and monitor any symptoms that you may be experiencing.

Substance abuse and addiction doesn’t stop just because of a national emergency. On the other side, neither does recovery. It is still possible to access treatment for benzo detox and find your journey toward recovery. Don’t wait until it’s too late, reach out for help today.
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Is it Safe to go to Treatment during the COVID-19 Crisis?

Right now is an unprecedented and trying time for many. With social-distancing being the number one recommended precaution against the Corona virus, it can be difficult to justify entering a treatment facility even when you know you are in need of help. It can be hard to know what to do. When the country is in a health crisis, and you find yourself in crisis as well, how do you decide on the best course of action?
There are a number of factors to consider, for yourself as well as for others;
Are you struggling with Alcohol or Benzodiazepine?
The effects caused by withdrawing from either of these substances can result in seizures and can be deadly. Attempting to discontinue using these substances on your own can prove fatal. It is not recommended to abruptly stop using or to self-detox regardless of social-distancing practices. Seeking professional assistance from a facility that can offer you 24/7 medical supervision is a must.
Have you recently overdosed?
If you have overdosed while using any substance, it is recommended that you seek immediate medical attention. Entering a facility that can offer 24/7 medical supervision is always recommended; as is going to the ER, seeing your PCP, or calling 911. This is a serious and life-threatening side effect of substance abuse and should be treated as such regardless of social-distancing recommendations.
Does the facility you are choosing take precautionary measures/complete prescreening for the virus?
Ask the facility if they are screening clients for the COVID-19 virus prior to admission. Often, facilities will ask a series of questions prior to admitting a client (have you been to an infected area? Have you been in contact with an infected person? Are you feeling symptoms? Etc.), facilities will also check client’s temperature and overall well-being prior to admitting them.
Does the facility you are choosing have a plan in place?
Ask the facility you are looking into what their isolation or quarantine plan is in the event that someone in the building contracts the virus. A reputable facility will be taking this seriously, and it is important to take it seriously for yourself and others as well. Ask if they have had any known cases of a client having the virus while under their care. Ask how they are taking care of their staff as well.
How are you feeling?
Are you feeling flu-like symptoms? Have you been exposed to someone who has tested positive for the virus? If that is the case, your best option would be to first seek help through a hospital. It will be just as important for you to get tested and to treat the symptoms of COVID-19 as it will be to address your struggle with substance abuse. A hospital or ER can address both temporarily. It is equally as important for each individual to take precautionary measures as it is each facility. Inpatient treatment is the best course of action when it comes to substance abuse, and a hospital will not be able to offer you 30 days of substance abuse treatment, but if you think you have contracted the Corona virus the ER is recommended prior to potentially admitting to a treatment facility. At a time like this we must look out for others as well as ourselves.

Social-distancing and cleanliness are top priorities in every community at the moment. Your health and well-being, and the health of others, take priority as well. Do not let the Corona virus stop you from getting help. Be smart about what course of action you choose. COVID-19 is serious, and so is substance abuse. We are all helping each other through both together.
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10 Ways to Prevent Relapse

Relapse does not have to be part of recovery. To ensure that you or a newly sober loved one don’t fall victim to a relapse there are many things that you can do. Preventive techniques and coping skills can really help someone before they relapse and some of them are very simple. Here are 10 simple ways to prevent a relapse from occurring.

Talk to a friend
It sounds so simple, but talking to someone about what you are thinking or feeling can really help get you through that tough time. Whether you have been thinking about drinking or using a drug, letting someone know is an easy way get it off your chest and can alleviate the thought or craving. Sometimes it’s the action of talking about it that helps, but the feedback that you may receive from the person you told could also help get you through the tough time.

Find support
If you don’t have friend or someone you can talk to when you are feeling close to a relapse, then finding support is very important. Drug and alcohol support groups exist all over the world. 12-step groups advertise in newspapers and various news sources, but there are many other types of support groups also. A simple google search can help you find very specific support groups in your area for what you are looking for. If a support group isn’t what you want, that’s fine too. Therapy and counseling is a great way to get support as well.

Stay busy
Trying to stay busy is a great way to prevent a relapse in early recovery. Find a hobby or a job and start working. It’s amazing how quickly the mind can get distracted from a thought about relapse when you are busy working or doing something like a hobby. Boredom is an easy way to find yourself close to a relapse, so if you stay busy then you are less likely to get bored.

Stay away from old friends
12-step programs like Alcoholics Anonymous have a suggestion that it is a good idea to stay away from old drinking buddies after you enter recovery. This suggestion is really for preventing a relapse, because the idea is that you could run into an old friend and find out that all you had in common was drinking or using drugs, so inevitably, you would relapse with them. Obviously, this isn’t always the case with old friends, but if your old friends do use drugs or alcohol, then staying away from them will probably make it easier for you not to relapse.

Clean out your car and house
Making sure that your car and home are free of drugs and alcohol is a great way to ensure that you don’t relapse. It is not always easy to be able to clean out your home and car by yourself especially when drugs and alcohol are the main thing that you are throwing away, so try and see if you can get a friend or family member to help. If you are able to have someone else do it altogether, it is probably even safer.

Try yoga or exercising
Taking up practices like yoga or starting to exercise can be great ways to calm the mind which may end up helping prevent a relapse also. Whether you are looking for a drug free rush of endorphins or just need to take a deep breath and meditate, yoga and exercise is a great way to use your energy. Many people find it necessary to get out excess energy in order to relax or focus better and this could help prevent a relapse, because not only is yoga and exercise going to have you breathing heavily, but it is also a great way keep you focused and relaxed in life.

Change your phone number
In order to stay away from triggers like people that used to sell drugs to you, it is a good idea to have someone delete those numbers from your phone. Take it one step further and you could change your phone number altogether.

Help someone
Giving your time to someone in need is a great way to stop thinking about whatever it is that is making you feel like relapsing. This is another simple tactic for keeping busy, but it is also self-fulfilling. Maybe you have a friend that needs someone to listen to them or just needs a ride somewhere. Either way, both is giving of yourself to that person and helping them, which may also help you forget about whatever was bothering you in the first place. Just be careful if you are trying to help someone who is using drugs and alcohol. It is probably a good idea to have some other sober help available if you find yourself in a situation where you want to help someone who is currently using drugs or alcohol.

Take your medication
If you are prescribed medications for a mental health condition, then make sure you continue taking them while you are sober. Just because you may not be feeling anxious or depressed, doesn’t mean that you should abruptly stop taking prescribed medications for those conditions. A relapse can occur after a person stops taking their medications, because the person may start feeling anxious or depressed again and use drugs or alcohol as a way to cope with these conditions. Please talk to your doctor if you are thinking about stopping a medication, rather than trying to stop taking it by yourself.

Stay Connected
If you were in a substance abuse facility and have left that treatment center, then try and stay connected with regular communication with staff or attendance at alumni events. Staying connected to the place that may have started your journey to recovery is a great way to prevent a relapse.
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Fun Ideas for a Sober Bachelorette Party

Having the task of planning a bachelorette party is a big responsibility, whether you’re planning it for yourself or someone you love. Maybe you’re sober, or the bride is sober, or you just want to have a bachelorette party that isn’t revolved around alcohol. All too often we see pictures on social media and Pinterest about ‘cute’ bachelorette party drinks or drinking games, or parties that are planned in bars or clubs. This mainstream view of bachelorette parties is not how all of them are, or have to be. There are many fun ideas for bachelorette parties that don’t involve alcohol.
Get Crafty
I’ve seen it done before where women make arrangements to go to a wood-making class and makes personalized signs for the bride. These are signs that she can hang in her home and create everlasting memories. This can also be done with dishware! Each attendee at the bachelorette party makes a piece of dishware that the bride can use in her own kitchen. Each time that her and her significant other sit down to eat; they’re reminded of the love that went into each plate or bowl. This is a super cute idea for someone that might appreciate hand-made gifts. Another idea similar to this is to go to a pottery class, each member of the bridal party can make a unique piece of pottery to commemorate the special day spent together.

Dinner and Desert
If you’re a part of someone’s wedding, I’m sure you know them well enough to know about their favorite food or restaurants. Make reservations at a cute or swanky restaurant that is either or fave or something new. You can accent the reserved table with some cute decorations (I’ll namedrop Pinterest here too), as long as you check with the restaurant that you can have access to the table ahead of time. If you add an additional layer of fun, plan some games to do during dinner. A really fun game I’ve done is to create a scavenger hunt that the bridal party has to complete before the night is over. Some examples that don’t include drinking could be; find someone at the restaurant to sing the “YMCA” song with you, prank call a friend, dance with a stranger, etc. This can create a ton of fun memories to talk about for years to come.

Spa Day
Who doesn’t love a spa day? Plan a day where the bridal party gets facials, nails, hair, massages, etc. done. It’s relaxing and a great way to spend time together. I mean, let’s be honest, what bride doesn’t need some R&R before her wedding day?

Get Away
Plan a getaway for the bridal party for a night or longer somewhere that the bride enjoys, or that you think she would enjoy. This doesn’t have to be a super expensive vacation; rather you can find an affordable Airbnb in a local town or somewhere just a few hours away. Have everyone pitch-in on food and other necessities and explore the area that you’re visiting. What makes this extra fun – taking a road trip with the gang.
When I had my bachelorette party in recovery, my sister planned a camping getaway in her RV. My bridal party was pretty small, so everyone was able to stay in the RV and we had a great time. We spent most of the time just hanging out in nature, sitting and laughing by the bonfire, and we also planned a couple events like doing a ropes course at a local mountain. It was an easy, affordable trip and we had an amazing time that I’ll remember forever.
Bachelorette parties don’t need to cost an arm and a leg, and certainly don’t need to include drinking. There are plenty of fun things you can do based on what the bride likes and enjoys.
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Ways to Have a Sober Bachelor Party

Obviously, the number one thing to do in order to have a sober bachelor party is to not drink, but can it be that easy? Yes, it can be very easy to celebrate someone’s bachelor party and still have fun without drugs and alcohol.
Early in recovery it can be hard to think about those milestone events, like your own wedding day and not drinking that cliché glass of champagne during your best man’s toast. Or not getting drunk at your own bachelor party, but these classic scenarios are not all about getting wasted. Wedding planning and the events leading up to that big day have almost nothing to do with drinking or drugs, but for some reason it can seem so hard to imagine those life events without drinking or drugs in early recovery.

Get Creative and Think Outside the Box
Whether you are getting married or planning your best friend’s bachelor party, drugs and alcohol do not have to be a part of the party. Some of the best ways to plan a bachelor party are to make it be about something that the groom really enjoys. Thinking outside the box, like taking a weekend trip or visiting somewhere for the day are usually great ways to start the planning.

Plan a Trip
If you are the best friend to the groom and have to plan a sober bachelor party, then try thinking about the groom and all the stuff that matters most to them. If they really enjoyed skiing at a mountain house while growing up or playing cards on the porch at the lake, then you already know that recreating a similar scenario will be a perfect way to celebrate a bachelor party without drugs and alcohol.

Do Something Local
Maybe going away for the weekend is hard for the group that will be coming. Why not just make it a day trip to somewhere special? Renting a big van, bus or even limo and riding it to a high-end restaurant is a great way to celebrate a sober bachelor party too. All that may be needed is a night out on the town with close friends and relatives, enjoying good food in an elegant ambiance. That could make almost anyone forget that alcohol is not a part of the evening.
Not into going to a fancy dinner with friends? Then how about some games at a local adult arcade? There are tons of different places that offer entertaining games for adults without drugs and alcohol having to be part of the entertainment. You can really have a fun time with old arcade games or even the newer 3D ones that offer a little more thrill while celebrating a buddy’s bachelor party.

The People Make The Party, Not The Drinks
These are just a few suggestions for how to get a memorable bachelor party started without any need to get high or drunk, but the main thing that is really going to make the party memorable is the moment you are with all of your friends and family celebrating. It doesn’t really matter what the scenario is as long as everyone there is present for the moment and not wasted on drugs or alcohol.
Try taking some of these ideas listed above and make them your own. Try looking up some local game spots in your area if you’re not interested in an arcade. The options for sober and fun bachelor parties are almost endless, because all you need is the people for the party and the sober environment.
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10 Fun Things to do When You Are Sober

In the beginning of sobriety, trying to find fun activities can seem hard. Typically, this can be due to the fact that almost everything prior to getting sober involved drugs and alcohol. Now, you have to find new ways to have fun that do not involve any mind or mood-altering substances.
Sometimes it can feel like there is almost nothing you can do that doesn’t involve drugs or alcohol, but this is very far from the truth. Most things that you used to do while using or drinking can still be done without drugs and drinking and they may even be more fun!
Sporting events
You can go to sporting events sober and even remember who won! Trying to break the habit of getting a beer or two every inning of a baseball game may seem dumb when you first get sober. After you experience your first game sober, you will definitely see that the sport has a lot of action that keeps you on the edge of your seat.
Sure, some people feel like the only way to dance is with some ‘liquid courage’, but have you ever tried dancing without drugs or alcohol? It is quite the rush and can really make you realize that you never needed the stuff in the first place. Next Friday night, try sweating it out on the dance floor with some sober friends.
You can workout at home or in the gym. Nobody needed drugs and alcohol to have fun with exercise, so why would you need it now. If you don’t want to commit to a gym membership then try going for a run around your neighborhood or at the local park. The endorphins will kick in and you may feel way better than you ever did high on drugs.
Go to the movies
Watching movies at home with friends can be fun, but going to the movie theater sober is a whole different way to really experience the movies. You can really get a thrill with 3D movies and they’re definitely cheaper than any day using drugs or alcohol.
Whether its painting a picture, knitting a scarf, making something out of wood, there’s so many different things to make with your own two hands. Some people really find that they have a talent for making things when they get sober. Others may reconnect with an old passion for making things they used to make before they started getting loaded. Either way, there are so many things to create when you can think straight!
Spend some time outdoors
Go for a hike! Parks and local nature spots are all around and you can really feel alive when you are outdoors hiking. Grab a snack, a friend and some boots, and you are ready for a hike. You don’t have to climb a mountain, but you can always go exploring in nature without drugs and alcohol.
Have a game night with friends
Play games with your friends! Board games, cards, video games, sports…there are literally a million different ways to have fun playing games sober with friends.
Go to a concert or live music event
Seeing your favorite bands and artists doesn’t have to be ruined just because you put down the blunt or beer! Try going to a concert with your friends and you will see that it is even better sober. Many live concerts and festivals even have areas of the event that promote sobriety!
Plan a trip or vacation
Whether it’s just a drive to the local beach or booking tickets to Europe, travelling sober is the best way to see the world. You can really remember how good of a trip it was and even avoid getting in trouble going through customs! Just remember your passport and you can go anywhere you want.
Learn something new
If you want to go back to school, take an art class or even just read a book. Learning can be fun sober. Many people are intimidated to go back to school, only to find out that when they are sober, they really enjoy learning. You don’t have to go back to school to learn though. Picking up a book or watching an educational documentary can be just as fun sober.
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How to Help a Teenager Struggling with Drug Addiction

Many teens experiment with drugs and alcohol, but few realize how dangerous that can become. Drug abuse during someone’s formative years can have long-term cognitive effects as well as lasting effects on their conduct, demeanor, and quality of life. It is important to remember that experimentation does not always lead to addiction; the most salient course of action would be to create a safe and judgment-free space for your teen to feel able to be honest with you about their experiences. Early intervention and education are the best methods in terms of helping a teen who may be developing bad habits.

Warning signs
Symptoms of drug abuse may vary and can only be determined on an individual basis. It can be hard to differentiate between general teenager angst and drug abuse, and no single symptom can definitively ascertain whether or not a child is abusing drugs/alcohol. Some red flags may include:
red eyes
sudden lack of interest in hobbies/extracurriculars
poor hygiene
dropping grades
changes in eating habits
rebellious behavior/rule breaking
excessive sleeping/trouble sleeping
detention/suspension from school or other disciplinary action
depression-like symptoms
Teenagers can be notoriously rebellious and are sometimes struggling to find their own identity. Creating open lines of communication and being proactive are the best methods for early intervention. Asking difficult questions compassionately and being actively involved in your teen’s daily routine can help prevent drug abuse now and later in life. Teens who feel supported are more likely to be honest and to ask for help if need be.

Commonly Abused Substances
Alcohol, marijuana, and prescription medications are the most commonly used substances in teenagers. According to the CDC, 1 in 5 teenagers have abused prescription medications. By age 18, 58% of teenagers reported having had at least 1 drink, and 24% of students admitted to using marijuana. 5.8% of students polled in 2019 reported they were cigarette smokers. Most teens reported they accessed these substances through a parent or the parent of a friend. This was usually unbeknownst to the parent but it is imperative to remember to keep any alcohol or prescription medications in a safe place in your home and away from children.

How to Help
If a teen has already attempted to stop using substances on their own and has been unable to, it’s important that they receive support in doing so. Therapists, addictions specialists, school psychiatrists, and pediatricians can help diagnose if a teen is struggling with substance abuse as well. Often, adolescents are not the most forthcoming about their emotional health or use of drugs. Enlisting the help of a professional can ensure your child gets the help that they need. It is important to remember that there are many resources available to a family who needs help supporting a child who is struggling. Home drug tests can help uncover an issue, and there are many adolescent programs available to children and teens of any age. If you feel you need some assistance in finding these facilities or more resources, a good first step would be to reach out to your healthcare provider. Many adolescent substance abuse programs allow teens to continue with schoolwork as well as offer counseling and family therapy services.
Lastly, it is always important to create an environment where a teen feels like they are able to share and will be received with compassion. A child or teen who feels loved and supported is always more likely to seek help or to be honest about needing it. Parental involvement is the strongest factor in preventing drug abuse and detecting mental health concerns early on.
Parents need support too. Don’t neglect to reach out to your own doctor or professional for guidance and advice. There are many online forums, support groups and therapists who can help to support families and parents as well. Remember, no one has to do this alone.
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Breaking News: Safe Injection Site in Philadelphia

You may have been hearing in the news, or perhaps read my last article, regarding the safe injection site that is being debated in Philadelphia. There was a recent development in the legal case of the United States versus Safehouse.
What is Safehouse?
Safehouse is a project that has been debated legally in the city of Philadelphia to integrate a safe-injection site. A safe injection site is a medical facility that provides medical supervision to individuals whom use illicit drugs. This is the reason for the legal contest and popular opinion to vary regarding the site. The intention of the site according to their web page is to provide individuals who are using illicit drugs means by which to use in an environment that provides sterile needles, access to social workers, referrals to treatment programs, and other resources that may help the individual in a myriad of ways. The hope is to engage with individuals in a way that promotes harm reduction. Harm reduction acknowledges that drug use occurs and aims to reduce risk of lethal overdose or other medical complication, (spread of transmittable disease or other result of use) in a hope to preserve lives.
So wait…It helps people use?
Not quite. The site is not a legally sanctioned place where people can use drugs. It is also not a place to “remove the consequences of use” as this is often a criticism I have heard. The use of drugs can result in things that are consequential and can be motivation for the individual to change. If, however, they die, those consequences are lost on them, as is the opportunity to change. The Safehouse and the idea of harm reduction is to allow individuals to reduce instances of transmitting diseases or having other medical results of drug use. This compassionate approach has been introduced in Europe as well as in Canada with success rates highlighted in my previous article. The use of resources and referrals to treatment occurred at higher rates for those who used the sites in other countries.
So what happened today?
A U.S. District Court Judge, Gerald McHugh, has ruled that Safehouse does not violate a law passed to prevent “crack houses” as the intention of the non-profit is to save lives and provide assistance rather than encourage drug use. No drugs will be sold at the site. Individuals who intend to use the site to use the drugs they find elsewhere would be provided with clean needles and a method to dispose of them as well as other sterile steps. They will also have access to medical and social work staff to assist with issues surrounding their use or find other ways to address their use should they elect to stop.
What are people saying and what happens next?
A Safehouse board member, Rhonda Goldfein, reported that she was pleased with the ruling and the plans to open a site in south Philadelphia in the following week. The Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney and the District Attorney Larry Krasner are reported to be in support of the site as a means to address the opiate crisis occurring in the city and beyond in the country at large. The US attorney who was addressing the case against Safehouse, William McSwain, in the lawsuit may appeal to a higher court and it could result in being discussed in the Supreme Court.

You can read the document from the court ruling today here
Image Sources:
SafeHouse Philly Twitter Account
Jim Kenney Twitter Account
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