As The Opioid Crisis Deepens, New Calls for Safe Drug Consumption Spaces
There are an estimated 19,000 addicts who inject heroin and other opioids in the city of Baltimore. They shoot up, in the shadows. They even have a name for the vacant houses they sometimes use: abandominiums.
Researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health say that as part of a strategy to address this growing epidemic, Baltimore should establish places where addicts can use drugs in safer environments. These “Safe Drug Consumption Spaces” would be monitored by medical personnel, who could intercede if someone overdoses, and addicts can, at the very least, be guaranteed the use of sterile needles.
Dr. Susan Sherman recently published a report commissioned by the Abell Foundation that makes the argument for the creation of these safe spaces in Baltimore City. She joins me today, along with Robert Kinneberg, the director of the Phoenix Recovery Center, who works to cure addiction. And we're joined on the line from Annapolis by Del. Dan Morhaim, a Democrat and licensed emergency-room physician who represents Baltimore County in the MD House. He's just introduced a bill authorizing the creation of safe drug injection facilities in communities across Maryland. We also take your calls, tweets and emails.