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STRIVING FOR A HARLEM WHERE ALL PEOPLE CAN THRIVE
Three Approaches to Addiction
Canadians Discuss Court Mandated Drug Rehab
The mayor of Cambridge, Ontario is asking the provincial government to not only work on solutions for chronic homelessness and mental health, but also to pass legislation mandating court ordered rehab. This would allow a judge to send an individual convicted of a drug related crime to a rehabilitation centre against their will.
“...when [judges] have repeat offenders there are only two options open, punishment by jailing or release back onto the streets to keep reoffending.”
New legislation would give Ontario's courts more power and more options to send convicted individuals to detox centers.
The difficult balance/task is to simultaneously address the community’s needs and concerns for safety, while also moving people who are addicted to drugs off the streets, out of the court system, and into an effective path towards treatment and (hopefully) recovery
REPORT FROM EUROPE
How Portugal Decreased Overdose Deaths and Addiction
In the 1990s, Portugal faced a serious addiction crisis.
Two decades later, the country has one of the lowest drug-related death rates in the world while cities like Vancouver who implemented disastrously ineffective supervised consumption sites in isolation, have failed to stem skyrocketing overdose deaths. The dramatic turnaround in Portugal centered mandatory drug counseling and intervention - essentially drug courts or tribunals - in tandem with a series of interventions including decriminalization, limited supervised injection sites, and coordinated recovery programing.
OnPoint Releases Partial Data For Their First Year In Harlem
New York's Nonprofit Media has released some of OnPoint's data for year one of operation in East Harlem and Washington Heights (November 2021 to 2022):
- 2,147 people have used the injection sites 48,284 times
- Of those 48,284 visits, 633 used either a lethal mixture of, or sufficient quantity of, illegal drugs to overdose
- All 633 overdosing events were reversed by OnPoint staff
The Greater Harlem Coalition firmly supports compassionate intervention and the goal of saving lives. We understand those who use OnPoint's injection site(s) require complex and thoughtful engagement and we support the overarching goals of harm reduction.
Unfortunately, however, OnPoint's Harlem site has repeatedly failed to engage in Community Harm Reduction - a model that approaches addiction treatment holistically within a public health model. Community Harm Reduction not only serves and supports the people who use OnPoint's services, but it also centers the goal of not harming neighboring businesses, neighbors, children, and families.
Community Harm Reduction engages and supports local businesses. Community Harm Reduction works with local businesses to reduce loitering and theft. Community Harm Reduction ensures that children who attend local schools do not repeatedly encounter used syringes, or have to cross the street just to avoid open air drug sales. Additionally, Community Harm Reduction would engage in approaches that support Harlem residents' right to be able to get to the train, walk to the park, welcome their family, and enjoy their streets without fear of encountering drug dealers brazenly selling narcotics.
The open air drug dealing on OnPoint's doorstep that brings dealers and users to our community is unacceptable. We need OnPoint and New York City's Department of Health to acknowledge that Harlem's vibrant and diverse community should be protected and strengthened, and not simply dismissed as their program's unavoidable collateral damage.