DENVER (KDVR) – At Denver’s Union Station, widespread public drug use has transport workers label the center as “lawless hell hole. ”
According to the transport union, RTD passengers and staff have in recent months been confronted with stayers, lurkers and illegal drug users when boarding buses, trains and light rail. .
“It doesn’t have to be like this,” said Lisa Raville, executive director of the Denver Center for Harm Reduction Action. “It doesn’t have to be so public.”
HRAC provides syringe access and overdose prevention services as overdose numbers surge to record levels in Mile High City.
“We know overdose in public is a problem, we know public injection is a problem, we want to reduce that,” Raville said.
Raville has been promoting a supervised injection site in Denver, which remains illegal at the state level despite receiving approval from the Denver City Council in 2018.
The sites will allow people to inject pre-acquired drugs under the supervision of a trained professional.
On November 30, The nation’s first supervised use site opens in New York City.
According to New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, 17 overdoses were reversed in the first nine days of operation.
“I would rather that happen to employees and myself than random people and business owners in the community, or people just trying to catch the bus,” says Raville.
The site has faced backlash from Colorado Republican lawmakers, who have said the site promotes illegal drug use.
But as overdose deaths continue to soar, Raville said more needs to be done to get drug use out of the public eye and into a controlled environment.
“We will be actively looking for an overdose prevention site in Denver on one of these days,” Raville said. “I just don’t know how many more people have to die from a preventable overdose, before the legislators allow us to do something different.”
Colorado total overdose deaths statewide
The overdose death toll shows Colorado is making progress in another record year for overdose deaths. As of August of this year, Colorado has recorded 1,225 drug overdose deaths and is continuing to increase several hundred more.
- 2018: 974
- 2019: 1.072
- In 2020: 1.477
- In 2021: Accelerates 1,838 drug overdose deaths
https://kdvr.com/news/local/safe-injection-sites-denver-union-station/ Drug use at Union Station has fueled a new push for supervised injection sites