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Enabling addiction doesn't solve the problem

Enabling addiction doesn't solve the problem
Proposals to create overdose prevention sites with protections like naloxone have so far been rejected by Maryland lawmakers. (Baltimore Sun)

I have a quick heads-up for Tricia Christensen (“Overdose prevention sites overdue in Maryland,” June 7). There is no way to change the exact nature of the disease of addiction. People know going in to their using (almost exclusively fentanyl) that every shot they take could be their last and are willing to accept that. What they feel is the same urgency "earth people" (non-addicts) feel when they have to go to the bathroom immediately. Does Ms. Christensen actually believe that addicts will wait for 15 minutes or maybe more to get to one of these proposed sites? In Baltimore, they would have to put one on every block to even remotely quell the overdoses. Addicts are also far too self-conscious to allow any strangers see them using. They want to do it in absolute secrecy. They won't want to be lectured on the benefits of recovery and abstinence.

I can see no way the non-using majority of people who pay taxes will allow society to give these folks who are using an easier, softer way. Overdose prevention is a misnomer. Once the drug is introduced, there is no overdose prevention. People getting shot with naloxone will only curse the nurse for blowing their high and commencing immediate withdrawal. Active addicts have no gratitude. They will only develop a bigger attitude of entitlement. Addicts will overdose because they can never use quickly enough or often enough. Why not call those sites publicly subsidized shooting galleries and be done with it?

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Yes, people will overdose in those subsidized places as well. The trouble is that they will be brought back to life in those proposed places and only will use more and more often and get bolder and more reckless. When addicts believe they can use with immunity and impunity, this problem will only get worse.

I have treated addicts for 25 years, and I would beg to differ with this proposal to provide something that does not exist — overdose prevention.

George Hammerbacher, Baltimore

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