Safe drug sites claim they save lives — but they encourage slow deaths

Holy Moly! The Biden government speaks of law and order.

Well, maybe not the entire Biden administration — maybe just US Attorney for the Southern District of New York Damian Williams.

The prosecutor says two government-sanctioned shoot-up boutiques for drug addicts are illegal in New York City — and suggests he might just padlock them.

Certainly no one is talking about a revival of the Rockefeller drug laws. (More is pity.)

But it’s a small step — something like a drug dog in the White House if the Bidenistas suddenly got serious about cocaine.

It’s rare for someone in Williams’ rep to suddenly realize that New York City is openly violating federal, state, and local drug laws.

Williams has cast a bad eye on OnePoint NY, a nonprofit (what else?) that reportedly operates the country’s only two “monitored injection sites” — one in Harlem and one in Washington Heights.

Consider these bring-your-own-substance consolation stations for addicts worried about an overdose: Come by, shoot up, and when it seems like things are about to turn upside down, someone will be there who, uh, intervene.

OnePoint claims to have saved 1,000 lives (though without offering long-term survival stats that would be helpful), and if that’s the case, then fine.


People lying on the sidewalk in front of the OnePoint NY monitored injection site in East Harlem on August 9, 2023.
People lying on the sidewalk in front of the OnePoint NY monitored injection site in East Harlem on August 9, 2023.
Stephen Yang

OnePoint NY operates locations in East Harlem and Washington Heights.
OnePoint NY operates locations in East Harlem and Washington Heights.
Stephen Yang

Still, their mission statement is a bit odd: “We want to fight stigma and invite people who use drugs to meaningfully participate in society, rather than marginalize them.”

In fact, if more addicts were concerned about stigma and participation in society—not to mention overdoses—there would likely be fewer addicts to exclude in the first place.

Ditto if more prosecutors paid attention to open-air drug bazaars in public places in all five counties. And not just the five districts.

And this is where Damian Williams comes in. He is, as he tells the New York Times, a prosecutor; The websites are illegal and therefore legitimate targets for attacks.

And Williams is absolutely right, of course — even if his observation has brought creeping fan-deaths to the usual suspects.

These include State Senator Gustavo Rivera from the Bronx and Rep. Linda Rosenthal from Manhattan’s Upper West Side (where else?).

They rightly note that the number of OD deaths is increasing – but add that “substance use disorders (er, drug addiction) are often criminalized and stigmatized rather than being treated as a public health emergency.”

But while public health is a top priority, what is OnePoint but a health initiative? — “Criminalization” is a thing of the past.

For example, last year The Post tracked New York City’s drug enforcement numbers for 2021-22 and found that they fell dramatically in the wake of “bail bond reform” — just as drug-related crimes were skyrocketing.

Coincidence? Correlation? Cause?


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OnePoint NY has claimed to have saved 1,000 lives since it opened.
AP Photo/Seth Little, file

The universe of illegal drugs is unclear – but you’d have to walk around the city blindfolded not to see that every imaginable illegal drug is available almost everywhere – and yet handcuffs are nowhere to be seen.

Obviously, Rivera and Rosenthal’s anti-enforcement style is patronizing nonsense — as is OnePoint’s no-bad-junkie approach when it comes to the illicit drug trade.

And make no mistake – it’s a business where demoralized and near-defeated neighborhoods are rewarded untold sums of money, while sheer misery is left behind.


Booths for injecting drugs at OnPoint New York safe injection site.
Booths for injecting drugs at a OnePoint NY safe injection site.
AP Photo/Seth Little

Now Damian Williams comes along and hints – albeit faintly – that maybe enough was enough. And good for him.

It’s not handcuffs, but it’s a start.

Email: bob@bobmcmanus.nyc

DUSTIN JONES

DUSTIN JONES is a USTimeToday U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. DUSTIN JONES joined USTimeToday in 2021 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with DUSTIN JONES by emailing dustinjones@ustimetoday.com.

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