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Las Vegas Responds to Drug Crisis With Syringe Vending Machines (Video)

Monday, April 24, 2017 12:02
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While it hasn’t been reported all that much, opioid abuse in this country has become an absolute epidemic. In many cases starting out from prescription painkillers prescribed legitimately after an injury or surgery, it soon escalates to heroin. And now Las Vegas and California are considering two very different approaches to fight this epidemic – harm reduction and increased taxes.

In the following video, Right Wing News takes a serious look at the opioid epidemic sweeping through this country, and what can be done about it. Las Vegas is opting for the harm reduction approach and has introduced syringe vending machines to provide addicts with clean needles. California is considering imposing a tax on prescription opioids at the manufacturing level which will then be used to fund addiction treatment and prevention programs. What can and should be done about the opioid crisis?

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As the nation’s opioid crisis continues to grow, some cities are taking dramatic steps to deal with its associated problems. Las Vegas has actually introduced vending machines which dispense clean syringes for free.

The Daily Caller reports:

Syringe Vending Machines Hit Las Vegas Amid Heroin Crisis

Las Vegas will get the nation’s first vending machine for drug syringes to combat spiking heroin deaths in the state and reduce the transmission of HIV.

The vending machines filled with clean needles will be available to designated individuals by the end of May. Residents who want access to the vending machines will need to be a part of Trac-B Exchange, a drug remediation group operating in Las Vegas. Participants in the Trac-B Exchange will be able to type a special access code into the machines to receive a clean syringe, reports Health Central.

In addition to the clean needles, the vending machines will dispense alcoholic wipes and “safe-sex supplies,” all packaged in a box.

“This is a harm reduction approach,” Chelsi Cheatom, program manager for Trac-B Exchange, told KSNV. “People are already exchanging in these behaviors, and anytime someone’s engaging in a behavior that could cause them some potential health side effects, we want to encourage them to reduce their risk of harm.”

This video from FOX News provides an overview of the program:

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California is taking a much more progressive approach to the crisis. What can’t be solved with more taxes?

Health Leaders Media reports:

Can We Tax Away The Opioid Crisis?

California lawmakers this month will consider legislation that would impose a tax on prescription opioids such as OxyContin and Norco to raise money for addiction treatment and prevention programs.

The proposal, introduced by California Assemblyman Kevin McCarty (D-Sacramento), would not levy the tax directly on consumers but rather on opioid manufacturers and wholesalers, who would pay 1 cent per milligram at the drug’s first point of sale.

Legislative analysts have not yet conducted a fiscal review of the measure, which would require a two-thirds majority vote to pass.

A similar federal opioid tax measure is being considered by Congress. It, too, is intended to create a fund to treat and prevent addiction. In addition, the Alaska State Legislature is considering a 1-cent-per-milligram opioid tax.

The Trump administration would be wise to start offering possible solutions for this crisis sooner than later.

Featured image via YouTube.

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