Update 4/13/17: County Board of Supervisor’s Coonerty and McPherson have requested Santa Cruz removed from AB 186. Please continue to let our Assemblymember Mark Stone know your thoughts! Contact info at bottom of article
RE: Assembly Bill 186
Dear Assemblymember Eggman,
It has come to our attention that Assembly Bill (AB) 186 specifies Santa Cruz County as a jurisdiction where operation of a pilot supervised injection services program would be authorized.
It is our understanding that no one in Santa Cruz County was contacted about inclusion in this legislation. While we appreciate innovative efforts at harm reduction, we agree with the Santa Cruz County’s Public Health Officer that Santa Cruz County is not prepared for an injection facility. Santa Cruz County is actively working on strategies to address opioid addiction, but an injection services program is not part of the County’s approach. Please remove Santa Cruz County from AB 186.
Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you would like to discuss this matter further.
Ryan Coonerty Bruce McPherson
Supervisor, Third District Supervisor, Fifth District
Stockton Assemblywoman Susan Talamantes Eggman has introduced Assembly Bill (AB 186) that would allow for implementation of “Supervised Injection Sites” in several pilot counties. Can you guess who is on the list? That’s right – Santa Cruz.
Without apology, we are going to make our position clear. NO. No to Safe Injections Sites….No to Supervised Injection Sites….No to our community being one of the first “pilots” in the nation. NO!
Let’s cut right to the chase
- Bad Science – 33 studies that support Safe Injection Sites (that are rolled out repeatedly by proponents) were done by one person. Thomas Kerr, who received $2.61 million to conduct the studies AND was the original lobbyist who helped get InSite in Vancouver B.C. started.
Although SIFs (Safe Injection Facilities) are but one part of a much larger systemic response to the problem of substance abuse and intravenous drug use, they are too often credited with generating positive effects that are not borne out by solid empirical evidence. As a policy issue, the potential impacts of SIFs are simply too important, and too divisive, to be left to conjecture and inferences that cannot be supported. – A Critical Evaluation of the Effects of Safe Injection Facilities Garth Davies, Simon Fraser University The Journal of Global Drug Policy and Practice
- Vancouver B.C. police had to add 90 police officers to the areas around Hasting Street in Vancouver (where the Safe Injection Site is located) to try to control the crime.
- Vancouver’s program also admits that up to 20% of their users migrated from other parts of the country to come there. A program in Santa Cruz would most certainly accelerate the influx of homeless addicts that we are already struggling to find resources for.
- Vancouver Canada has the best Healthcare System in the world as measured by outcomes. The US ranks 37th. We do not have the healthcare service infrastructure to adequately support the addicts currently living here. We will absolutely not have the resources to support the hundreds, if not thousands, more who will come here to take advantage of this program.
- We already have people who are waiting weeks to get into Detox and Rehab. Why would we divert one dime away from expanding Detox and Rehab? InSite in Vancouver costs $2.5 million/year to operate
- Will safe injection locations stop addicts from using in public places? Absolutely not! Vancouver sees 15,000 injections per day. InSite, their drug injection site, monitors just 600 injections per day.
96 PERCENT OF ALL INJECTIONS ARE DONE OUTSIDE OF VANCOUVER’S INSITE FACILITY.
- Santa Cruz County is too small to bear the burden of another social experiment program. Our tax base is minuscule compared to Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles which are a few of the large metropolitan cities being touted for programs. How can we even consider our County for a pilot program??
- The Santa Cruz County Syringe Services Program (it is NOT an exchange), is a failure at referrals to rehabilitation programs. Less than 3% of its “customers” are referred to recovery services. What makes us think a Safe Injection Site program piloted by our County would be any better?
- Fentanyl is killing addicts by the hundreds in Vancouver, the home of North America’s only safe injection site. Just under 1,000 died last year alone of Fentanyl overdoses.
Drug injections sites do not get people off the street in any meaningful way. Only 252 people out of the 6532 people visiting 263,713 times collectively graduated detox. Remember, detox is NOT rehab. The number of people getting “off the street” is non-existent.
Although Take Back Santa Cruz is adamantly opposed to the creation and funding of drug consumption sites, we are in strong and full support of the following:
We simply believe programs should be in place that have a proven measure of success in helping addicts get off drugs. The cost of rehabilitating one addict and turning them into a contributing member of society, we believe, is far less than allowing the addict to continue with their negative lifestyle that contributes nothing to their own well-being or to society’s.
It’s long past time for one-off initiatives such as drug injection sites. The only hope for mitigating the impending tidal wave of drug abuse is to establish comprehensive prevention and treatment programs.
“It seems that harm reduction tries to reduce harm to the drug user while not being judgmental about their actual drug use. This lack of judgment allows the addict to “freefall through society,” as former Vancouver PD Constable Al Arsneault once said, with addicts dropping out of school, losing jobs, being alienated from their families, committing or being themselves victims of crime, and making them vulnerable to disease and death. In fact, the focus of harm reduction is actually the worst-case scenario for a drug user—total inability to quit and eventual death.”
We must let Assemblyman Mark Stone AND our County Board of Supervisors know – absolutely not!
Call, write, fax, email. NO TO SUPERVISED INJECTION SITE PILOT IN OUR COUNTY!
Assemblymember Mark Stone:
Santa Cruz County District Office:
701 Ocean Street
Santa Cruz, CA 95060
Tel: (831) 425-1503
Fax: (831) 425-2570
P.O. Box 942849
Sacramento, CA 94249-0029
Tel: (916) 319-2029
Fax: (916) 319-2129