In Portland, Oregon, and it’s neighboring county, “snorting kits” for drug users may soon be delivered as part of a harm reduction strategy that even the Democratic mayor of the city opposes.
The strategy, which was made public on Friday by the Multnomah County Health Department, will increase the selection of drug paraphernalia available to users so they can adapt to using fentanyl in ways other than injection. This will include straws, tin foil, and “snorting kits.”
Ted Wheeler, the Democratic mayor of Portland, expressed his objection to the county’s proposal, which he claimed promoted drug usage.
“I adamantly oppose distributing paraphernalia to encourage using a drug that is the leading cause of death for Americans under 50 and responsible for 190 fatal overdoses a day in the US,” Wheeler tweeted Friday.
Rene Gonzalez, a Democrat, and commissioner for Portland, also objected to the proposal.
“Multnomah County handing out tin foil sends a horrific message in a community that is working hard to restore livability, public safety, and its reputation. Heavy drug use is killing too many, driving crime, deeply damaging livability and devastating our 911 system,” she said in a statement. “Thoughtful harm reduction may have a place in addressing substance use disorder, but handing out tinfoil/straws in a community ravaged by fentanyl is reckless.”
In 2022, the number of drug overdoses in the U.S. exceeded 100,000 for the first time in recorded history. The COVID-19 pandemic caused an increase in overdoses, which increased from 71,000 in 2019 to over 90,000 in 2020.
The tweet below confirms the news:
Harm reduction organizations have recently distributed “snorting kits” in various places. A straw, plastic razor, and flat surface are frequently included in the kits to facilitate drug usage through the nostril. Harm reduction organizations claim that the kits encourage users to stop injecting and lessen bacterial exposure from reusing equipment.
The American Civil Liberties Union reports that needle exchange programs, which give clean syringes to drug addicts, are still widely used and are present in 38 states. However, initiatives to reduce injury that go beyond syringes have drawn criticism.
The Department of Health and Human Services stated last year that it would pay for “smoking kits” but would make sure they did not include pipes used to smoke narcotics. This is the first government harm reduction grant program that has ever been established.
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