AtTAcK Addiction backs bringing overdose prevention centers to Delaware to stem overdose deaths
Despite a variety of efforts to address the opioid crisis, overdose deaths in the First State rose sharply in 2021.
And one group - atTAcK addiction – suggests its time to try some new approaches to combat this issue, specifically creating overdose prevention centers.
Earlier this week – we sat down with atTAcK Addiction board member Dave Humes to discuss the sites and the group’s decision to advocate for them.
As the opioid overdose death rate continues to rise in Delaware, atTAcK Addiction is calling for the state to consider new avenues to stem the tide.
AtTAck Addiction says one possible solution is creating overdose prevention centers, also known as Safe Consumption Sites.
Those sites would give opioid users a safe place to use drugs, and they provide testing services to check the purity and concentration of a substance.
Dave Humes is a board member with atTAck Addiction. He explains how the sites work.
"They do not provide any drugs. You have to come in with your own drugs, and they have these little areas like you would see at a library where the computers are set up they provide clean needles for these people to use,"said Humes. "They're used under medical supervision. There's medical staff there on site. They're equipped with Naloxone in the event that people overdose."
The sites also have different areas for people to smoke or use intravenously, peer support services, showers, and laundry.
Humes says overdose prevention centers can be a big help in the fight against the opioid crisis.
"I think there certainly will be an impact. No matter where you set these up you're always going to run into the problem of not in my backyard, of course NIMBY, but as we try to educate people who haven't been touched in or not as deeply involved in this issue we hope to show them that this is truly a good measure of harm reduction, that it does save lives, and it does get people into treatment," said Humes.
Last year, there were 515 opioid overdose deaths in Delaware - a 15 percent increase over 2020. Since 2013, there have been 3,100 overdose deaths in Delaware.
Currently the state has not permitted overdose prevention centers, but Delaware's syringe exchange program is expanding.