For the past two years, Ithaca, New York Mayor Svante Myrick has been working with a committee of educators, law enforcement and drug recovery programs to put together a comprehensive new drug policy, dubbed “The Ithaca Plan”.
Ithaca’s bold new drug policy is calling for supervised heroin injection sites and heroin maintenance therapy, which are pieces of the four pillars of change proposed to happen in the city; Prevention, Treatment, Law Enforcement and Harm Reduction.
Myrick wants his city to host the nation’s first supervised injection facility, where heroin users would be able to shoot illegal drugs into their bodies under the care of a nurse without getting arrested by police.
Myrick said he will ask New York’s Health Department to declare the heroin epidemic a state health crisis, which he said would enable his city to proceed without involving the state legislature. Myrick told the AP about his proposal ahead of a wider announcement planned for Wednesday.
Once dismissed for what is seen as its radicalism, injection sites will be increasingly discussed as a possible response to huge increases in overdose deaths nationwide. In New York state, overdose deaths involving heroin and other opiates shot from 186 in 2003 to 914 in 2012.