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First legal drug use facilities slated to open in NYC, says de Blasio

The facilities are meant, in part, to curb public drug use

Published: November 30, 2021 12:43pm

Updated: November 30, 2021 1:27pm

The first set of supervised drug consumption facilities in New York City have been cleared to open, according to Democrat Mayor Bill de Blasio.

The Overdose Prevention Centers were announced in conjunction with the city's health department. Their locations across the city are primarily based on community health needs and will provide medical care and information and connections to drug treatment facilities.

The goal of the centers, at least in part, is to reduce public drug use and the number of stray syringes that can currently be found across the city.

"New York City has led the nation’s battle against COVID-19, and the fight to keep our community safe doesn’t stop there," the mayor said. "After exhaustive study, we know the right path forward to protect the most vulnerable people in our city. And we will not hesitate to take it.

"Overdose Prevention Centers are a safe and effective way to address the opioid crisis. I’m proud to show cities in this country that after decades of failure, a smarter approach is possible."

The city's health department conducted a study suggesting that the supervised centers could save up to 130 lives a year. In 2020, the NYC hit more than 2,000 drug overdose deaths. 

"Giving people a safe, supportive space will save lives and bring people in from the streets, improving life for everyone involved. Overdose prevention centers are a key part of broader harm reduction," said the city's health commissioner, David Chokshi.

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