Update: AB186 comes up for a third and final reading TOMORROW, August 21. Remind our elected representatives why they should be voting NO to this bill! It needs 21 votes to pass, and Bill Monning has already advanced it from Public Health Committee. EMAIL, CALL, MESSENGER PIGEON if necessary (allow flight time). If this goes to the Governor’s desk it has a very real chance of making our beloved town the first legal heroin injection site in the COUNTRY.
See document below for current tally of City/County representatives who have not taken a position (we can only assume they support) on AB186. Please contact them as well and encourage them to fight this in whatever way they can on behalf of Santa Cruz County and City.
AB 186, which allows certain counties in California to operate “Safe Injection Sites”, passed the California Assembly on June 1st with 41 Ayes and 33 Noes. Our Assemblymember Mark Stone voted yes.
The bill moves onto the Senate.
So what can we do??
CALL, EMAIL, FAX, WRITE! The ball is now in the Senates’ court.
Senator Bill Monning
Contact Page for phone, fax, and mailing address
The following City and County representatives/staff have not taken a position on the bill:
Cynthia Chase, (firstname.lastname@example.org) Mayor, City of Santa Cruz (responded but did not take a position)
Sandy Brown, (email@example.com) Councilmember, City of Santa Cruz
Chris Krohn, (firstname.lastname@example.org) Councilmember, City of Santa Cruz (responded but did not take a position)
John Leopold, (email@example.com) Board of Supervisors, Santa Cruz County
Zach Friend, (Zach.Friend@santacruzcounty.us) Board of Supervisors, Santa Cruz County
Greg Caput, (firstname.lastname@example.org) Board of Supervisors, Santa Cruz County
Take Back Santa Cruz reaches out to local government leaders to see where they stand
1). Do you support California AB186? (Controlled substances: safer drug consumption program)
2). Do you support the inclusion of Santa Cruz County on the proposed Safe Injection Site pilot list?
Results of our brief survey and their responses may be found in the document posted below.
National Post: Vancouver’s drug strategy has been a disaster. Be very wary of emulating it
National Post| Tristin Hopper | May 12, 2017
Ensure a successful marketing of customers for drug dealers, some of whom operate openly on the streets surrounding the facility. Former Vancouver Mayor Philip Owen says the neighborhood has become a magnet that attracts people from around the region and country who “all get chemically dependent, and it’s just more sales for the drug dealers.”
Insite — and the concentration of services surrounding it — has turned an already blighted neighborhood into a disaster. Without an equal focus on prevention, treatment and enforcement, we can expect the same in Santa Cruz.
Safe-injection sites are good at what they do. But they really only do one thing: prevent people from dying.
It does not seem to reduce crime. There is slim evidence to show that it reduces overall addiction rates. And it certainly doesn’t lead to livable neighbourhoods filled with healthy people.
gina w says
I am a native Santa Cruzan, and I am so sad to see the state of our town, but it angers me to hear that our city council’s inability to take a position on AB 186 puts our town in risk of becoming even MORE unsafe!
I used to avoid the downtown area, especially at night as I always felt unsafe. This is very unfortunate because there are such amazing stores, restaurants and entertainment venues downtown, but I often opted out due to previous bad experiences of being hassled, or aggressively pan handled. I’m not a wimpy person, at all, but my philosophy in life has become, why put yourself in harms way when it isn’t necessary?
Well, it has “become necessary” as I have worked downtown for the past two years. I get to work at 5:30 am and have to walk a block to my office, and in this short distance I have been so frightened of the interactions I’ve had with pissed off addicts who are coming down from whatever their substance of the night was. I now walk with pepper-spray every morning, and unfortunately have had to announce that I’m ready to use it at least 5 times. Once I’m safely inside my locked building, I have to take stock of who’s outside our building as there are known characters who are always wasted and abusive. We call s.c.p.d. on the regular, but even if they do take the really scary people away, they are back in 2 to 3 days.
The summer has brought in a crowd of addicts that are so brazen and act above the law. They sell drugs out in the open, right in front of our building and they do not try to hide their actions when people walk by. Most times I will use the back door to exit the building as I do not feel safe walking out amongst the riff raff that hangs out in front of our offices. I’ve also noticed in the mornings, the amount of homeless addicts that are sleeping on sidewalks or in an agitated state of mind is increasing rapidly.
I bring all of this up because it’s obvious Santa Cruz is known very widely as a “lenient” town, but if these safe shoot-up rooms are erected in our town, the number of drug/substance addicted people WILL increase even more rapidly. I don’t understand why the money and energy isn’t being directed into MENTAL HEALTH and addiction programs. I have first hand experience with the lack of mental health facilities available in Santa Cruz. My brother has been living with mental health issues for 30+ years in Santa Cruz, and since the 80s, the facilities have slowly closed; and mental health facilities are almost non existent in Santa Cruz now. Why aren’t we focusing on this issue, instead of providing a safe place for people to shoot up?
I truly believe that rolling out the welcome mat to drug addicts by providing safe shoot up rooms would be devastating to Santa Cruz, which is already overwhelmed with addiction issues, lack of mental health facilities, burglary/theft, and a large homeless population, and no solutions on the horizon. If you DO support the safe shoot up rooms, at least have the fortitude to stand up and say what you believe, instead of sitting on the fence and letting things just “happen”.
Thank you Gina! Totally agree. All city/county officials who have the authority to vote on Santa Cruz being a ‘safe site’ need to show up, stand up, and speak up…not sit back in a weakness to show your face and say what you think. Geez people, you can’t hide. By not taking a stand publicly, you are showing us your weakness. Sorry, but as city/county officials, you ALL need to take a stand. How much worse will you allow Santa Cruz to become? We are already infested with drug use and its abuse. Hang out at Denny’s on Ocean for a bit and see the interactions.
Lou DeLucia says
Here is my current research to show that Injection Sites are counter productive:
Portugal is held up as the gold standard for “decriminalizing” drugs and not “judging” the addict. Their programs has some success due to wrap-around services and is mandatory. Drug dealing is still illegal and dealt with harshly. Other EU countries tried to emulate the program. With the 2008 recession, their budgets were slashed for the addicts in program and caused overdoses, increased crime, and increased disease transmission, increased homelessness. Can you see us having an Injections Site AND wrap-around services? I don’t believe there will be funding for both. Why not use any proposed funding and increase needed detox/rehab facilities and sober living environments along with all the needed physical/mental health and social services. The way I see it, Injections Sites are prolonging the suffering and misery of the addict with the usual end result of death. Which would be more compassionate?
THE JOURNAL OF GLOBAL DRUG Policy AND PRACTICE
A Critical Evaluation of the Effects of Safe Injection Facilities
Garth Davies, Simon Fraser University
Conclusion: Taking Causality Seriously
On the subject of the effects of SIFs, the available research is overwhelmingly positive. Evidence can be found in support of SIFs achieving each of the goals listed at the beginning of the evaluation. In terms of our level of confidence in these studies,the assessment offered here is far less sanguine. In truth,none of the impacts attributed to SIFs can be unambiguously verified. As a result of the methodological and analytical problems identified above, all claims remain open to question.
Vancouver’s INSITE service and other Supervised injection sites: What has been learned from research?
Final report of the Expert Advisory Committee
“At the Vancouver site, the manager said since opening in 2003, the overdose death rate in the area around the clinic has dropped 35 percent. But the clinic also estimates 15 to 20 percent of people using the site come from other parts of the country specifically for it.”
“Although research appears to bear that out, many of the studies that attest to Insite’s success are small and limited to the years after the center opened. For instance, a 2011 study published in the journal The Lancet found a 35 percent reduction in overdose deaths in the blocks surrounding Insite, versus 9 percent in the rest of Vancouver.
But that often-cited study looked only at the period two years before and two years after the center opened, not the ensuing decade.”
“Although Insite is paired with a drug-treatment center, called Onsite, Berner and other critics point out that completion rates are low. Of the 6,500 people who visited Insite last year, 464 were referred to Onsite’s detox center. Of those, 252 finished treatment.”
The Vancouver Insite was placed in a crime-ridden, drug-ridden, low-income neighborhood. It only got worse.
“Although the Insite center is a model, the Vancouver neighborhood surrounding it is nothing to emulate, advocates acknowledged.
“If I came from a city like Seattle and I went to that Insite place, it would scare the hell out of me,” Kral said. “I would think, ‘Are we going to create one of those?’ ””
Vancouver’s ‘gulag’: Canada’s poorest neighbourhood refuses to get better despite $1M a day in social spending
What do you think would happen if this was placed in a middle-class neighborhood, or, ANY Santa Cruz neighborhood?
Brian Hutchinson: Finding used drug needles in public spaces has become the new normal for Vancouver
“Ten years later, despite any lofty claims, for most addicts, InSite’s just another place to get high.”
The 100% positive studies on Vancouver’s Insite (Safe Injection Facility) was done “Early last decade, Montaner and Kerr lobbied for an injection site. In 2003, the Chretien Liberals acquiesced, gave the greenlight to B.C.’s Ministry of Health, which, through Vancouver Coastal Health, gave nearly $1.5 million to the BC Centre (that’s Montaner and Kerr, you remember them) to evaluate a three-year injection site trial in Vancouver.
I asked him about the potential conflict of interest (lobbyists conducting research) and he ended the interview with a warning. “If you took that one step further you’d be accusing me of scientific misconduct, which I would take great offense to. And any allegation of that has been generally met with a letter from my lawyer.”
Was I being unfair? InSite is a radical experiment, new to North America and paid for by taxpayers. Kerr and company are obligated to explain their methods and defend their philosophy without issuing veiled threats of legal action.”
In the media, Kerr frequently mentions the “peer review” status of his studies, implying that studies published in medical journals are unassailable. Rubbish. Journals often publish controversial studies to attract readers — publication does not necessarily equal endorsement. The InSite study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, a favourite reference of InSite champions, appeared as a “letter to the editor” sandwiched between a letter about “crush injuries” in earthquakes and another on celiac disease.”
Really? What kind of “science” produces dozens of studies, within the realm of public health, a notoriously volatile research field, with positive outcomes 100 per cent of the time? Those results should raise the eyebrows of any first-year stats student.”
And who’s more likely to be swayed by personal bias? InSite opponents, questioning government-sanctioned hard drug abuse? Or Montaner, Kerr and their handful of acolytes who’ve staked their careers on InSite’s survival? From 2003 to 2011, the BC Centre received $2,610,000 from B.C. taxpayers to “study” InSite. How much money have InSite critics received?”
There has never been an independent analysis of InSite, yet, if you base your knowledge on Vancouver media reports, the case is closed. InSite is a success and should be copied nationwide for the benefit of humanity. Tangential links to declining overdose rates are swallowed whole. Kerr’s claims of reduced “public disorder” in the neighbourhood go unchallenged, despite other mitigating factors such as police activity and community initiative. Journalists note Onsite, the so-called “treatment program” above the injection site, ignoring Onsite’s reputation among neighbourhood residents as a spit-shined flophouse of momentary sobriety.”
Reducing the Transmission of Blood-Borne Viral Infections & Other Injection Related Infections
“Self-reports from users of the INSITE service and from users of SIS services in other countries indicate that needle sharing decreases with increased use of SISs. Mathematical modeling, based on assumptions about baseline rates of needle sharing, the risks of HIV transmission and other variables, generated very wide ranging estimates for the number of HIV cases that might have been prevented. The EAC were not convinced that these assumptions were entirely valid.
SISs do not typically have the capacity to accommodate all, or even most injections that might otherwise take place in public. Several limitations to existing research were identified including:
Caution should be exercised in using mathematical modelling for assessing cost benefit/effectiveness of INSITE, given that:
There was limited local data available regarding baseline frequency of injection, frequency of needle sharing and other key variables used in the analysis;
While some longitudinal studies have been conducted, the results have yet to be published and may never be published given the overlapping design of the cohorts;
No studies have compared INSITE with other methods that might be used to increase referrals to detoxification and treatment services, such as outreach, enhanced needle exchange service, or drug treatment courts.
Some user characteristics relevant to understanding their needs and monitoring change have not been reported including details of baseline treatment histories, frequency of injection and frequency of needle sharing.
User characteristics and reported changes in injection practices are based on self-reports and have not been validated in other ways. More objective evidence of sustained changes in risk behaviours and a comparison or control group study would be needed to confidently state that INSITE and SISs have a significant impact on needle sharing and other risk behaviours outside of the site where the vast majority of drug injections still take place.”
“It has been estimated that injection drug users inject an average six injections a day of cocaine and four injections a day of heroin. The street costs of this use are estimated at around $100 a day or $35,000 a year. Few injection drug users have sufficient income to pay for the habit out through employment. Some, mainly females get this money through prostitution and others through theft, break-ins and auto theft. If the theft is of property rather than cash, it is estimated that they
must steal close to $350,000 in property a year to get $35,000 cash. Still others get the money they need by selling drugs.”
Massive Price Hike for Lifesaving Opioid Overdose Antidote
Suddenly in demand, naloxone injector goes from $690 to $4,500
Should we follow the money? Who would be profiting bigly from the increased use of naloxone?
Supervised injection sites—a view from law enforcement
Jamie Graham, former chief of Vancouver Police has outlined the successful model of dealing with an epidemic: Support, mandatory treatment, abstinence, and counseling as all part of the solution. My recover(ed)(ing) addict friends say they would agree.
Iceland knows how to stop teen substance abuse but the rest of the world isn’t listening
In Iceland, teenage smoking, drinking and drug use have been radically cut in the past 20 years. Emma
Young finds out how they did it, and why other countries won’t follow suit.
Pigeon nest of needles highlights Vancouver’s drug problem
Some graphs about how overdoses in Vancouver, BC have increased:
One more: https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/d2f8aa542d4033a1f198a3b0e3e802482a4becf1e45b04e77079e989e5c6460a.jpg