New York To Implement Harm Reduction Vending Machines
Emily Murray ❘
This year New York City will begin testing a new public health service throughout the city: harm reduction vending machines
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A recent story highlights the harm caused by the opioid epidemic. A man named Paul Moore was 8 years into his opioid addiction treatment when his desire to get high proved too strong. After deciding he could not feel anything, Moore decided to start using cocaine. He was prescribed buprenorphine, which is a common medication that curbs opioid cravings; however, it was not effective for him. Moore began seeking other substances he could take to feel the euphoria he once felt when taking opioids. He decided injecting himself with cocaine would be a way to fill that void.
Moore’s experimentation with opioids signaled a deeper concern. He felt depressed after discontinuing opioids, and his desire to shoot cocaine in effort to relieve that depression was extremely high. In fact, Moore admitted to “injecting cocaine in his leg 20 times” each day to jump start a feeling of excitement. These injections became Moore’s last resort to respond to the transition from an opioid-free life. Previous to the cocaine injections, Moore consumed large amounts of alcohol, marijuana, and other chemicals in search of a high; but cocaine consistently had the largest counter effects to his feelings of depression.
Moore lived in his car in previous years, where he abused substances. At this time, he was estranged from his wife and kids, unable to connect with his family. He lost his job at Walmart and became disconnected with writing poetry—a passion of his since his college years. To add, he battled suicidal thoughts, revealing a previous history of depression. He also disclosed a history of substance abuse. Unfortunately, this was a destructive cycle of pain and escapism that affected Moore’s life.
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In many cases, substance abuse is accompanied by an undercurrent condition like depression, anxiety or obsessive compulsive disorder, and individuals suffering often seek distractions and unhealthy coping patterns.
Mixing more than 1 type of drug with another is called polydrug use and is dangerous because individuals gain a high tolerance for harmful chemicals and are more likely to endure damaging side effects. For example, combining heroin with cocaine, called speed balling, can greatly increase the likelihood of a fatal overdose. Mixing alcohol with prescription pills also increases overdose or can create complications and harmful side effects.
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America’s opioid crisis impacts many and those who partake in polydrug abuse complicate their lives. In response, state officials believe in creating a plan to reduce addiction. State officials also believe treatment should be available for those in need. Previous payments revealed $11 billion to combat the effect of opioid abuse on Americans. Despite this, some believe opioid treatment is not a “home run” and those with opioid use disorders should be cautious with taking meds.
Krystina Murray has received a B.A. in English at Georgia State University, has over 5 years of professional writing and editing experience, and over 15 years of overall writing experience. She enjoys traveling, fitness, crafting, and spreading awareness of addiction recovery to help people transform their lives.