To mark International Overdose Awareness Day, I went out on the streets of Harlem and asked people for their thoughts about the overdose crisis. Most spoke to the importance of peer-to-peer communication when it comes to dangers such as adulterated drug supplies.
“I told her, please be careful, it doesn’t feel like regular heroin, I never tried heroin that warms your body up so fast,” says one woman whose girlfriend died of overdose. In this short video (which you can watch above, or here), you’ll hear my interviewees’ voices over footage of a protest against the polices that stop us preventing needless deaths.
Even though preliminary figures showed a slight decrease in overdose deaths in the US last year, far too many people are still dying. More harm reduction interventions are needed—like safe consumption sites, syringe service programs and evidence-based treatment on-demand.
People who use opioids need easier access to methadone, the gold standard option for opioid dependence. And the X-Waiver to prescribe buprenorphine, another highly effective medication, must be eliminated so more healthcare providers can supply it to those in need.
As the protesters in the video chant, when it comes to our tragic toll of preventable overdose deaths, our attitude must be: “Not one more!”