Pennsylvania gas station comes up with an innovative way to combat drug use in its toilets!
A gas station in Pennsylvania is attempting to test a new and simple method to counter drug abuse.
A Sheetz gas station-cum-convenience store in Pennsylvania is testing out a new and innovative method to curb drug use and overdose in its bathrooms. The store has installed blue lights in the bathroom to see if it will be able to prevent opioid addicts from shooting up in the bathroom.
A spokesperson for Sheetz, Nick Ruffner, told Valley News Dispatch, "The blue light system makes it so that somebody who is looking to inject heroin or an opioid can't find their veins." The store which is located in New Kensington said they were testing this simple strategy to see if it would actually be able to prevent people from shooting heroin or other opioids in the bathroom.
Business Insider, did a detailed report on the gas station's attempt to curb opioid abuse.
The lighting is being tested in this single location, for the time being, ie, Pennsylvania. Only a few other public bathrooms including some in England, Zurich, Switzerland, and Canada have tested the blue light. However, it can't be said for sure if these lights would actually curb people from shooting drugs. A small survey which questioned 18 Canadian drug users concluded that 16 out of those 18 described situations where they had attempted to shoot up in a blue-lit place.
A researcher from the University of British Colombia, Alexis Crabtree, who conducted the survey told Business Insider, that the people who resort to shooting up in a public bathroom were more likely to be homeless or living somewhere with a strict 'no-drugs' policy.
"If they stay and inject under blue lights anyway, they increase their risk of injection-related complications such as skin and soft tissue infections," stated Crabtree in an email.
Alexis believes that people who are deterred from shooting may end up in riskier places or may land up in more danger. However, she says that she also empathizes with those at the gas station as drug overdose has become a national crisis.
The Valley News Dispatch reports that opioid overdose deaths in the same region as Kensington have reached an all-time high. Over 144 people have died from confirmed drug overdoses while 35 more fatalities remain to be investigated.
President of the US, Donald Trump, has declared the opioid epidemic as a public health emergency but there is not much federal cash ($57,000) to support or deal with the large-scale problem. According to Alexis Crabtree, she has had success with a program called 'Take Home Naloxone' which provides Naloxone to various drug users. So far approximately 57,622 Naloxone kits have been distributed and about 11,815 have been used to reverse a drug overdose.
Other countries have taken different kinds of measures to prevent opioid abuse. Portugal decided to take a different approach to the situation and became the first nation to decriminalize possession as well as consumption of illegal substances which basically made all drugs legal.
"The official policy of decriminalization made it far easier for a broad range of services (health, psychiatry, employment, housing etc) that had been struggling to pool their resources and expertise, to work together more effectively to serve their communities," said Susana Ferreira, a writer, and producer to The Guardian.
Portugal can now safely boast of some of the lowest drug prevalence rates. The method may not be as simple as blue-light but it did bring about the desired effect.
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