Re “Safe injection sites are another tool on the path to recovery” by Cindy F. Friedman and Jeffrey N. Roy (Opinion, Aug. 9): I recently spoke with a mother whose son had started using fentanyl after a period of abstinence. I rattled off my typical advice on how to reduce the risk of harm associated with opioid use, which included keeping naloxone on hand and ensuring her son wasn’t using alone.
She responded that her son no longer had anyone to inject with. As a result, in her own home, each time her son injected fentanyl, a family member was present, armed with naloxone, ready to respond to an overdose.
I was moved by our conversation, and by this family’s compassion, understanding, and unconditional love for their son. They understood what it meant to truly be with someone in moments of need. This family had made a conscious choice to do all that they could to help their son, not on their terms, but on his. It is far past time that our society followed suit.
Not every family is able to do this, and many people who use drugs don’t have this type of support. Our policy makers need to recognize the value of all human life, without exception. A good place to start would be the creation of overdose prevention sites.
The writer is director of special projects and research with the Office-Based Addiction Treatment program at Boston Medical Center, and is a member of the advisory board for Families for Sensible Drug Policy.