There is an unusual proposal titled “The Ithaca Plan” to fight against the soaring mortality rate brought on by heroin addiction. The out of the box idea was suggested by 28 year-old Ithaca Mayor Svante Myrick in which he shared his plan of creating a place where people can inject heroin and other form of drugs under supervision.
What is The Ithaca Plan?
The idea is to put up a centralized facility in which people addicted to heroin or other intravenous drugs would go. They will then be given sanitized syringes and will be attended by professional medical staff who will make sure that they do not overdose. If in case an overdose happens, each staff is equipped with Naloxone, which is an opioid anti-overdose drug which will prevent the person’s death from an overdose. Just to set the record straight, they are there not to tolerate addiction but to limit, give care and information to fight addiction.
Myrick’s controversial proposal took root from his first hand experience and observation of his heroin addicted father. Likewise, for more than two decades he stood as a witness to the deaths and harmful effects of drug dependence to society. He further added that they cannot wait for the federal government to act if they can actually do it now.
Facility for heroin addicts Opposed
hile supporters consider drug addiction a public health issue, those who are against the proposal argued that allowing such a place will trigger more drug dependency.
To counter their detractors, Myrick elaborated that the facility set up is just a part of a larger plan which will include processes like the creation of an Office of Drug Policy, a Crisis Center which is available 24/7, a law enforcement assisted diversion program and a supervised treatment facility with medication. He confidently discussed that their idea is a comprehensive approach that adheres to the four foundations which are treatment, harm reduction, public safety and prevention. In fact, Myrick and the Municipal Drug Policy Committee named the proposal as “The Ithaca Plan: A Public Health and Safety Approach to Drugs and Drug Policy.”
The young mayor wants to adapt a process which has been successful in Vancouver, Canada, home of the only other injection facility in North America.
Vancouver’s facility a Success
Vancouver’s Insite facility has proven to be effective for the past 13 years. Because of its existence, increasing number of people are motivated for treatment. Moreover, the incidents of HIV transmission have decreased since the facility began operations. The report cited by the Vancouver Sun in 2013 also says that fewer people are infusing drugs. With its success, legal protests to shut down the site have been useless and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau would like to see more injection sites built.
Amid the expected political battles they still have to face at the local, state and federal level, Myrick is confident that they will be able to push through with the facility within several months. It may sound absurd, but the eager mayor explained that their proposal is the fruit of what the people of Ithaca needs.
Myrick’s Statements on The Ithaca Plan
Myrick also put forth a statement directed to opponents of the measure saying that he empathizes with them and that he also condemns drug dependence. However, he added that it is not enough to be angry about an issue if you fail to consider more traditional strategies that have already failed to stem the tide of increasing drug addiction. He further posited that people who keep seeing the same problem and proposing the same solution will never make progress.
He then challenged the citizens of Ithaca to be open-minded and to have the guts to try once and for all in order to make progress in the battle against heroin addiction.