It has been a very negative week, with Trump opening the can of worms that is Jerusalem being the tipping point. However, we have found a story about a gas station that is doing some very positives things.
A Sheetz gas station convenience store in the town of New Kensington, Pennsylvania, has installed blue light in its bathrooms to prevent drug use.
“The blue light system makes it so that somebody who is looking to inject heroin or an opioid can’t find their veins,” Sheetz spokesman Nick Ruffner told the Valley News Dispatch.
But many researchers argue that blue-lit bathrooms will not deter many drug users. Alexis Crabtree at the University of British Columbia, who conducted some of the interviews with drug users for the Canadian study, told Business Insider that people use drugs in public bathrooms as a last resort if they’re homeless or living somewhere with a zero-tolerance policy.
She argues blue-lights don’t deter people, it just makes even more dangerous for them to inject.
“If they stay and inject under blue lights anyway, they increase their risk of injection-related complications such as skin and soft tissue infections,” Crabtree wrote in an email.
And anyone who is deterred can “end up in even riskier places,” she said.
However, the move by the Sheetz gas station is still a positive one as the are that surrounds the gas station is experiencing high amount of drug abuse. The Valley News Dispatch reports that opioid overdose deaths in Westmoreland county, where the Sheetz is located, have hit an all time highthis year: at least 144 people there have died from confirmed overdose deaths, and 35 more fatalities remain under investigation.
Other Successful Policies.
The blue-light system is not the only one that is being implemented. In Canada there is a very successful “Take Home Naloxone,” initiative that gives away free Naloxone kits to those who would most likely witness an overdose: friends, family and medical services.
So far 57,622 Naxalone kits have been distributed and 11,815 have been reportedly used to reverse an overdose.
There is also the curious case of Portugal, a country that suffered through years of Heroin abuse. In 2001, Portugal took an unprecedented step and decriminalized possession and consumption of illicit substances. Essentially making all drug 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,” Susana Ferreira wrote of the country’s remarkable turnaround in The Guardian.
The country has made a remarkable turnaround high risk opioid use there is at 0.49%, nearly half the rate in the UK, and lower than Italy and France.
The Portuguese method required more than changing bathroom lights but it has been successful.