At the White House, President Donald Trump declares the opioid crisis as a nationwide public health emergency. Rather than using a national disaster declaration, according to CNN. Trump stated, “This epidemic is a national health emergency.”
He continued, “Nobody has seen anything like what is going on now.” Furthermore, “As Americans, we cannot allow this to continue. It is time to liberate our communities from this scourge of drug addiction.”
President Trump and the first lady, Melania Trump spoke about their efforts in understanding the crisis which led to the announcement. The goal is to “reorient all of the federal government and executive branch resources toward focusing on providing relief to this urgent need,” a senior White House Official stated. This declaration is renewable after 90 days.
Controversial Bathroom in New York May Help with Opioid Emergency
Per CNN, in 2015, there were approximately 90,000 overdoses in the United States. Consequently, for every fatal drug overdose, there are approximately 30 non-fatal overdoses. Thus, an overdose may be prevented with the right management and safety measurements.
Clearly, in an ideal society drug use wouldn’t occur. However, the United States is seeing more and more people addicted to opioids and heroin. A controversial method of providing ‘safe bathrooms’ may prevent drug overdose deaths, as reported by Dr. Sanjay Gupta.
Specifically, Mata’s Infirmary in New York City, “a syringe exchange program began operating, which houses a bathroom where drug users can more safely inject heroin.”
Moreover, the advantage is, a former security guard named Hector Mata became an expert in reversing overdoses. Since the program started, he has saved 25 lives in the process, according to Gupta.
Are ‘Safe’ Bathrooms Legal?
Indeed, that is a great question! To be sure if it legal or not, more research has to be done. However, a New York lawmaker has introduced legislation that would allow ‘Safe Bathrooms.’ Because the Corner Stone does not provide illicit drugs and provides care by a non-professional it is operational. Therefore, the center coordinates with the state in following their legal policy according to Liz Evans.
New York law states possession of a controlled substance, for example, heroin, methamphetamine, and cocaine is a crime. Possession of controlled substances or prescription medications like Vicodin, Oxycontin, Ambien, and Ritalin is a crime if you do not have a legal prescription to possess or take them.
Per CNN, Gupta spoke with Liz Evans, the Corner Projects’ director. Her statements are astonishing. “Public bathrooms are the frontline of the opioid epidemic.” Additionally, she adds, “People are dying in those bathrooms, and there’s an acknowledgment that as a syringe exchange provider, we have a moral obligation to make sure that people don’t die in our building.”
Therefore, some regulations must be in place to safeguard this program. “New York State Department of Health has followed the Corner Project’s lead and instituted regulations and recommended procedures on how to best prevent overdoses in the places where users are likely to use; syringe exchange bathrooms.”
Kratom Plant May Help Fix The Opioid Crisis
Eventually, America will decide if criminalization vs. rehabilitation will be the solution. In the meantime, Christopher McCurdy, president-elect of the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists, states that Kratom has the potential to work on patients and even help solve the opioid crisis.
What is Kratom?
Kratom (Mitragyna speciosa) is a tropical tree that has a long history or traditional and ceremonial uses in Africa and Southeast, according to Int J Legal Med. This plant advocate says offers relief from pain, depression, and anxiety. “Scientists say it may hold the key to treating chronic pain and may even be a tool to combat addiction to opioid medications, according to Clopton.”
However, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is considering to ban this ‘herb’ and place it as a Schedule 1 drug. The DEA reports 15 deaths related to using Kratom.
Per Us Pharmacist, in August 2016, the DEA announced it would temporarily reclassify Kratom as a Schedule I drug. However, an outcry from the public resulted in the withdrawal of that decision. In making the decision the DEA takes into consideration the drug’s actual abuse, a diversion from legitimate channels, and clandestine importation, manufacture, or distribution.
According to the report, advocates stated, “kratom does not possess the harm that the DEA claimed. It is useful in managing pain and other conditions, as well as reducing opiate addictions. Therefore, it should remain available to the public without restrictions.”
In the meantime, the DEA requested the Food and Drug Administration to study the substance before making a final decision. DEA list kratom as a drug of concern.
In the face of this national crisis, we as Americans can help end the opioid epidemic.